Profile: Oscar nominated actress talks “Brooklyn”

At the age of 21, Saoirse Ronan has already been nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role in 2007’s Atonement, but it is her leading role in this year’s Brooklyn that has the movie industry buzzing with more award talk.

Ronan made a name for herself during her teenage years when she starred in such films as The Lovely Bones, Hanna and the aforementioned, Atonement. Many believed that she was one of the bright young talents of Hollywood, and her last two films, last year’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and this year’s Brooklyn, both garnered a lot of award buzz.

Brooklyn tells the story of a young Irish immagrant, Eilis (Saoirse Ronan), who moves to Brookyln in the mid-1950s. She struggles to find her place in the fast-paced environment, but she quickly falls in love with an Italian boy, Tony (Emory Cohen). When she is forced to visit her mother back home in Ireland and realizes what she has been missing, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.

Although the film is based on a book of the same name by Colm Tóibín, the movie is a close resemblance of Ronan’s life. She was born in New York to two Irish parents and moved to Dublin when she was three. She talked about going back to Ireland to shoot part of the movie and how it helped her with the role.

“To have a life that even I’m not part of anymore, that was very much my childhood colliding with work which had always been kept so separate when I was kid, was bizarre and amazing,” Ronan said. “This wasn’t imitated in any way.  We were surrounded by the Irish spirit, so I think it really helped the film.”

Along with location similarities, Ronan also said that the film also resembles what she is going through in her own life. She is learning to mature and grow on her own like the protagonist Eilis, which she said can be difficult for women her age.

“It’s a very daunting feeling I think, and I was right in the middle of that while we were making the film, so it meant that every kind of stage that we see Eilis reaching and overcoming, I was going through myself,” Ronan said.

Much of the film also focuses on a love triangle between Tony from New York and Jim (Domhnall Gleeson) from her hometown. Even though some of the audience might not identify with all of the struggles Eilis encounters throughout the film, Ronan said that it is this struggle that she believes many will identify with.

“I think they’re both really great suitors to be honest, and this is something that is sort of a real life situation.  I’m sure most of us have gone through it in one way or another,” Ronan said. “I could appreciate both of their lovely qualities, and ultimately these two men are representing two different worlds and two different lives that she could have, and so in the bigger picture, that’s what it was really about.”

Brooklyn is in theaters this Friday and is rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality and brief strong language.