Matchup of the Day: Brooklyn vs. The Crying Game
It’s St. Patrick’s Day! There’s a 100% guarantee that Irish people will be in this matchup.
The Crying Game and Brooklyn are both about people trying to leave behind their past. In Game, a group of Irish Republican Army operatives kidnap a British soldier, Jody, in order to force the release of one of their members. They intend to kill their captive if their demands aren’t meant. One of them, Fergus, is given the task of guarding him. As time goes on, Fergus begins to feel sympathy for Jody and is reluctant to carry out the murder. When Jody knows that his time is nearly up, he requests that Fergus look after his girlfriend, Dil, in London. Fergus is ordered to kill Jody, who manages to briefly escape, only to be run over by military vehicles. The IRA hideout is discovered and the survivors of the ensuing confrontation flee. Fergus later resurfaces in London to track down Dil.
Eilis, the protagonist in Brooklyn, is a young Irish woman in the 1950’s who is given the opportunity to live in the United States. She takes up residence in Brooklyn, New York, which has a sizable Irish community. At first, she feels terribly homesick. Eventually, though, she finds a kind-hearted Italian plumber to love, and she earns a certificate in bookkeeping. Everything seems to be looking up for Eilis until the sudden death of her sister in Ireland. She feels torn between her new life in America and returning home to console her mother.
Fergus finds Dil working at a hair salon. He doesn’t tell her that he was involved in Jody’s death. The two hit it off and Fergus starts to fall for her…
POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT
Back when The Crying Game was first released it became notorious for the big twist that takes place about half-way through the film. It was considered extremely bad form for anyone to reveal the twist. That was over twenty years ago, and, while it’s hard to imagine anyone not knowing what the twist is all this time later, I’m still giving a head’s up.
So Fergus and Dil start to get hot and heavy. The big moment that blew the minds of audiences back then occurs when Dil takes off her clothes in the heat of passion, revealing that… she is a he! Fergus is initially disturbed by this new information, but he continues to interact with Dil. Not long after, one of Fergus’s old IRA comrades and former girlfriend, Jude, shows up. She wants him to return to active duty. Fergus tells her he’s out. She replies “You’re never out, Fergus” and threatens to harm Dil if he doesn’t perform an assassination.
Eilis travels back to Ireland. Pretty much everyone wants her to stay, even though she says repeatedly that she intends to go back to the United States. What Eilis doesn’t tell them is that she married her Italian boyfriend before her trip. The longer her visit, the more seemingly drawn she is to staying in her home country. A nice young fellow tries to court her. She is offered a job as a bookkeeper. She misses her mother. But, she realizes that her life in Brooklyn is what will truly make her happy. During the ending narration, after she has returned home to her husband, she says “…you’ll catch yourself thinking about something or someone who has no connection with the past. Someone who’s only yours. And you’ll realize that this is where your life is.” Eilis has left behind her past and is ready for a new life of her choosing.
Fergus agrees to the hit. The night before, he tells Dil about his hand in Jody’s demise. The next morning Dil ties Fergus to the bed while he’s asleep and he fails to show up for the assassination. Jude shows up with the intent of killing Fergus, but Dil shoots her first. Fergus takes the wrap for shooting Jude and ends up in prison. The film ends with Dil visiting Fergus, who still has over 2,000 days to serve. What sort of relationship they’ll end up having is left to the viewer’s imagination.