Christian Life

Seeing Christ in “Brooklyn”

G’day everyone! I’m Megan (or Megs) and I live in Perth, Western Australia! I’m so excited to share a movie review with you on a recent film that I saw and was blown away by how much of the Lord I saw in it. I’ve done a few reviews before, and have found that the best way for me to get the point across is to first give you the synopsis of the movie, and then delve into the finer details of exactly how the Lord revealed himself.

Before we get into the Synopsis, I’d really like to recommend that you first watch the movie, I know, I know…. stop what you’re doing, read no further, until you watch the film. It’ll just make so much more sense to you once you’ve seen it. Plus there are major spoilers below, and this movie is so sweet that it’s better if you experience it without knowing whats going to happen. Trust me.

*happily waits until you finished watching the film*

Ahhh welcome back!! Okay, so here is the quick little synopsis:

Brooklyn is a beautiful movie set in the 1950’s that follows the story of Eilis (pronounced AY-lish) Lacey who lives in a small Irish town where she works for a mean old lady who treats all her staff (and customers) poorly. Eilis’ sister, Rose, organises for Eilis to go to the US in search of a better future. This means leaving her family, “job” and friends behind. Eilis travels by boat to Brooklyn and lives in an Irish boarding home where she dines each night with the traditional (and funny) landlady and her fellow residents – all young women. A job was organised for her at a department store, but Eilis suffered from severe homesickness and was very shy and quiet when interacting with customers – which her supervisor didn’t condone. Her homesickness gets so bad that Father Flood, the priest who liaised with Rose to arrange Eilis’ job and accommodation pays her a visit and comforts her. He lets her know that he has enrolled her in bookkeeping classes. She attends an Irish dance, which all of the other girls in the boarding home attend, in the hopes of finding a nice Irish man to marry. At this dance she meets the hero of our story, Tony. He is Italian, and he very quickly develops an interest in Eilis. They begin dating, and their relationship becomes a cure for her homesickness as she begins to feel more comfortable and at home in Brooklyn.

***SPOILER ALERT***

The twist in the story is that Eilis’ sister, Rose passes away suddenly from an illness that no one knew she had. Eilis decides to return home for a visit. Tony insists that he and her get married first. They get married at the local courthouse and don’t tell any of their family and friends. Once she is back in Ireland, everybody seems to be conspiring to keep Eilis from returning to Brooklyn. Her best friend is getting married a week after she is scheduled to return, however, her mother already accepted the invitation on her behalf, forcing her to stay longer than she intended. She is also set up on several dates with an eligible bachelor, Jim, who is about to inherit his parents property. She is suddenly given a job at her sister’s previous employment as a bookkeeper on an emergency basis. Eilis starts to become blinded by how everything is falling in place for her at home, and begins to believe that she has a future in Ireland that didn’t exist before she left. She stops opening the letters she receives from Tony.

The nasty old lady who used to previously employ Eilis, Miss Kelly, meets with her and confronts her by informing her that she is aware that she is married. Eilis feels manipulated and, on the verge of being blackmailed, she suddenly realizes the small-town mentality that she had escaped, where there are no secrets. It is at this point that she informs her mum of her marriage and that she is returning “home” the next day.

The film ends with Eilis and Tony reuniting and happily embracing. (YAYYY!!)

SEEING THE LORD IN BROOKLYN – The Characters & Places

Eilis – she is you, she is me, she is the bride, the church

Tony – he is the Lord, Jesus Christ

Jim – he is the old man

Brooklyn – the city represents our new life (a new city)

Ireland – represents our old life (small and insignificant)

The Boat – Eilis travels to Brooklyn from Ireland on a boat – over the ocean. The ocean is a picture of death. Of saying goodbye to the old life and welcoming in the new.
SPECIFIC MOMENTS IN THE FILM

When Eilis goes through immigration she opens a giant door, on the other side of the door there is just bright, bright light. She walks through. This is a picture of her faith and her entering into her new life. We have all walked through that door, not 100% sure what is on the other side, but we know it’s a million times better than the life we were living.

In the departments store in the beginning, Eilis wears all black and is borderline depressed. This is a picture of the death and sadness that we all experience when we initially enter the new life. You see, we cannot have the new, and still maintain or hold onto the old. We have to fully let it go, and that is really, really, really hard!

When Eilis arrives in New York, everything she needed was provided for her. She had somewhere to live, food on the table, education, and a job. She didn’t have to worry about these things. All she had to do was embrace her new life. This is SO the Lord. He has provided us with everything we need. All we have to do, is wake up, get up, show up, and continue on in Him!

Eilis first meets Tony (a picture of the Lord) at a dance. He is watching her dance with another man. He is staring, almost beholding, her with such intent. It’s seriously one of the most romantic things ever. This is how the Lord looks at us. He saw us before we saw him, he was already captivated by us. He already loved us, he already knew that he wanted to get to know us.

Eilis and Tony go out to dinner. He asks her a few questions about herself, this is the first point in the film, where she really opens up and shares a lot about herself. He made her feel comfortable, his very presence evoked a sense of trust with her and she seems happy for the first time in a while.

In one of the letters to her sister, Rose, Eilis writes and tells her about Tony. She specifically is telling her how she was homesick to begin with; she says “my body was here but my life was in Ireland” I really see this as the spirit. We can be here physically, but our spirit can still be in “Ireland” in the old. We have to fully die to everything, to be able to fully enjoy the new life, to enjoy the Lord’s love.

Tony is the first one to say “I love you” – the Lord loved us first. Eilis didn’t respond the way he thought, or hoped, she would. However, later in the movie, she expresses that she actually does love him. Oh my gosh, when she tells him this, the look on his face is PURE JOY. His eyes literally light up! How amazing is it that the Lord is excited when he hears us say we love him too. So many times do we focus on his love for us and how it makes us feel, that we forget what it must be like for him to have the woman of his dreams tell him she loves him too! Seriously, one of my favourite scenes in the whole movie.

After she tells Tony she loves him, the season changes from cold winter to summer. Eilis starts to wear brighter, happier colored clothing. This symbolizes that she has moved out of her cold, winter stage into a new season. This new season brings warmth and love. The Lord is our constant new season.

Another one of my favourite scenes is after she finds out her sister has passed away; she and Tony are in a cafe and he asks her if she wants to go home. To which she replies, I’m not sure if I have a home anymore. He then says that he wants to show her something. The very next day he takes her to a plot of land that he and his family have already purchased. He presents the idea of a house with her and him together to her. He then said that his whole family were going to build houses on that land and that it was developing and would eventually have everything that they need. The Lord has purchased the land, and he is building his house for him and his bride. He then said to her does she need to think about it and she said “I don’t need to think about it” she already knew that she wanted to be with him.

Now, I should probably mention, that Tony is not your cliche movie hunk. He is shorter than Eilis, and he is kind of goofy looking, in an adorable way. The Lord is like this, he is perfect in every way, but not how we might picture or expect him to be.

When Eilis goes back to Ireland, she is dressed in a way that stands out. She clearly doesn’t fit in anymore. However, slowly, the whole community is tempting her to stay. She suddenly has a man who is interested in her, a real job, the prospect of a house. These lovely things of the old nature are slowly entering her heart, and she quickly forgets about Tony and the love that they shared. Our old life will do this to us too, we can become enchanted with the ideas of this world, or ‘good’ things, but if they aren’t from the Lord (or Brooklyn) we can easily forget about him.

The movie makes us start to think that she is going to stay. When suddenly Miss Kelly informs Eilis that she knows the truth, she intended on blackmailing her. It is in this moment that Eilis has a revelation. She says “I’d forgotten what this town is like” she then stands up in front of the sitting Miss Kelly and boldly declares who she is “My name is Eilis Fiorelo” she says this with such conviction. Once we remember who we really are, saints, chosen, heirs, holy, perfect, pure no amount of guilt or blackmail can hold us back!! It was empowering to see Eilis remember who she was, and it is ten times more empowering when we remember who we really are.

At the very end of the movie Eilis says “…and one day, the sun will come out. Someone who has no connection with the past. Who is only yours. And you will realize that this is where your life is” WOW. The Lord has revealed himself to us. He belongs to the bride, and she belongs to him. It is in him that our new life lays. He has no connection with our past because he literally KILLED it. He has resurrected us to new life, we now live in him. We have left Ireland (the old) crossed over the sea (death) and into Brooklyn (new resurrected life).

This my friends, is the very definition of a miracle. I am excited to be living in this new land, and excited to have met Tony.


Do you have a movie in which you see Christ? Please share it with us and we’ll consider posting it on the blog as a guest post!

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1 Comment

  1. Reply
    Tim
    March 15, 2016 at 1:46 am

    MegaThanks Megs for your sightings (and for the spoiler alert). I did like you said and watched the movie first. I’m glad I followed your instructions. I find it interesting that Tony is a plumber. The Lord works on the hidden areas of our life. Only he sees them and He was/is willing to get dirty and restore proper functioning. Interesting too that at the beach in Ireland there was not a soul but in the New Land the beaches were very crowded. In the New Land we find the way of the cross. Not so in the old land.

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