Nostalgia was a recognised illness, starting out as extreme homesickness amongst soldiers at war in Europe four centuries ago. The last acknowledged afflictee was in World War 1. Homesickness dominates the first part of this film when smalltown Irish girl Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) leaves class-ridden Enniscorthy in 1952 courtesy of an offer made to establish a new life in New York city by a benign priest friend of her golfing accountant sister Rose. Ronan’s wonderful performance is the still centre of an incredibly simple story and it is hard to see how the film would survive its broad strokes without her. The pace is slower than we are accustomed to these days, assisting with the attenuation of her role. We read a lot of ourselves into her own silent reactions, rather like we would to Garbo. She gradually becomes accustomed to her new life and when a tragedy takes her home she secretly marries her Italian beau before departing. She then attracts the kind of rugger bugger that wouldn’t have given her a second glance before. Then the reality of her home town’s spitefulness hits her and she leaves again – this time for good. And that is that.