The Immigrant (2014)
Critic Consensus: Beautiful visuals, James Gray's confident direction, and a powerful performance from Marion Cotillard combine to make The Immigrant a richly rewarding period drama.
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Critic Reviews for The Immigrant
The film is an achievement. Its complex reckoning of moral decency deserves a bigger audience.
Gray's movie is an almost flawlessly articulated example of the kind of thing we like to say they just don't make any more: serious, adult, character-driven and impassioned.
At times, Khondji's golden portraiture can make the characters seem encased in amber. But there's a tremendous payoff for the patient.
Audience Reviews for The Immigrant
An interesting story with a lot of potential but undermined by its inability to make us relate to it in almost any level, tending towards melodrama and becoming like a soap-opera after some time. In the end, it remains cold, with characters that could have been more well explored.
Cotillard, Phoenix and Renner in the land of opportunity. Good Film! James Gray's latest tale of melancholic woe and spirits in emotional turmoil takes us back to when America was the land of opportunity for the tired, poor, huddled masses. The director's fifth feature is once again centered in New York, where past entries like "Little Odessa" and "Two Lovers" took place, but "The Immigrant" takes us back ninety years, putting a classical spin on his typical tale. "The Immigrant" may rest mostly on its trinity of actors' shoulders, but it is a rich experience thanks to Gray's operatic direction, which feels like an homage to the days of both Chaplin and Coppola. I do find it to be an almost incomplete film, as I feel its ending felt more like a respite than a true completion. Perhaps it's due to the fact that I feel Gray could do so much more in this era, and tell more of this woman's story. But as it stands, I find "The Immigrant" to be a fine film with a great deal to say, and it acts as a beautiful showcase for Cotillard. 1921. In search of a new start and the American dream, Ewa Cybulska and her sister Magda sail to New York from their native Poland. When they reach Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda is ill, and the two women are separated. Ewa is released onto the mean streets of Manhattan while her sister is quarantined. Alone, with nowhere to turn and desperate to reunite with Magda, she quickly falls prey to Bruno, a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. And then one day, Ewa encounters Bruno's cousin, the debonair magician Orlando. He sweeps Ewa off her feet and quickly becomes her only chance to escape the nightmare in which she finds herself.
The Immigrant is a beautifully resized period film that presents a knotty tangle of ethical decisions. It's rather understated and probably why director James Gray's work charms critics over mainstream audiences. The three protagonists are fully realized creations that captivate. What superficially appears like a love triangle is actually much deeper and morally complex. Gray has a talent for extracting raw emotion. Additionally, the production has a nice feel for time and place. Costumes and cinematography superbly add to the historical detail. The filmmaker grew up in New York City and it's a place he returns to again and again in his movies. This is a story that upholds the promise of America, but doesn't deny the cold harsh reality. fastfilmreviews.com
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