This was such a lovely, thoroughly enjoyable film, with a complex coming-of-age story that included but did not revolve around a love story. It does a very good job of bringing its settings (1950s New York and Ireland) and their cultures to life, and it's full of strong performances. It's sentimental but not treacly, which is a difficult line. This wasn't particularly daring or shocking or edgy or anything, but it was just - good.
Availability: In a few theaters - and some are holding it over or getting it back because of the nominations.
Best Picture: It's not my favorite movie of the year, but I thought it was very very good, strong all around, and I would not be sad if it won.
Actress in a Leading Role: Sure. Saoirse Ronan is extremely good at showing all sorts of shifts of emotion quietly, and she's generally delightful here. And she's in almost every scene, which is a LOT to carry.
Adapted Screenplay: If I had my way, Nick Hornby would stop writing novels and devote himself to adapting midcentury coming-of-age stories full time, because I love his screenplays. (An Education was great; you should see it if you haven't.) Again, I'll have more thoughts on the adaptation angle after I read the novel, but I thought the writing here did a great job of making the movie earnest but also funny and smart rather than saccharine.