I’ve liked Saoirse Ronan as an actress and finally gotten around to watch this film. The movie absolutely nailed what it felt like for me when I moved from SG to AU, how much I missed Singapore and how I wanted to go back, and how slowly Melbourne started to feel like home too (and mostly because having a boyfriend helped a lot, who knew?!).
Being an immigrant can be painful, or lonely, or stressful — and the movie even touched upon the hardship even of an older generation of immigrants such as the retired Irishmen who built the tunnels in the US. The impression people want to make on immigration officers from the 1950s, and the nervousness felt at these borders, feels the same for me and that’s just one of the many details that made the movie so relatable.
I usually try to imagine what it was like for the first generation of immigrant families — to move and then eventually settle down. Countries like AU and the US have opened borders in the past to attract their preferred immigrants, and these people built farms and roads and train tracks and made companies and jobs. But most of all, they’ve sacrificed and worked so hard. In a time where immigration can be a dividing issue for some people/governments, the movie is also a good reminder why we carry on.
It is Eilis’ story and her conflicts, joys, and decisions were real. She made tough decisions, and the story was relatable on so many levels. Plus 1950s fashion is so classy (and so were the women and their handbags).