At the end of this showing, a rather full cinema broke into genuine and sustained applause, which is a rare thing indeed. I think that was because it was a film for grown-ups dealing with grown-up themes, in spite of the extreme youth of the heroine and of the actress playing her.
The action followed the plot of Colm Toibin’s novel quite faithfully, with some understandable simplifications. It seemed that Father Flood had been turned into a figure of straightforward benevolence, and indeed Colm Toibinn’s representative in the film, since I had more than once heard Toibin praising Saoirse Ronan with paternal pride. Different ways of relating to the symbolic sea seemed to have been abandoned, in favour of Saoirse doing with her face what takes me thirty pages, while there were some advert-y moments like Eilis exiting the immigration shed into a screenful of light.
But it was good to see a film about nice, decent people, and indeed nice, decent, lower-middle-class people…