Before the film truly hits the romantic genre, the script relies on wit and humor. In the boarding house that Eilis stays in, each character has their own personality. The personalities often play off of each other and eventually Eilis herself adds her own, newly created personality. The script really engages the audience to chuckle during each scene. Even once the romantic genre appears, the script continues to poke around with its added humor.
At about the mid-point of the film, there is a tonal shift towards a more dramatic and romantic film. Pulling at the heartstrings, Eilis is constantly changing and enduring new challenges. To me the film starts to dissolve a bit here, dissolving into a more typical romance. I wish that the wit was still involved at this point, but the dramatic aspects are pulled off well nonetheless. Furthermore, the story remains linear and continues to progress onwards until the end.
The Bottom Line: This romance is a well-paced spectacle that relies on a strong script and an up-and-coming actress.