The Immigrant (2013)

R   |    |  Drama, Romance


The Immigrant (2013) Poster

1921. An innocent immigrant woman is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville until a dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is being held in the confines of Ellis Island.


6.6/10
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23 March 2014 | smiley_b81
8
| Should have gotten Oscar contention..and Jeremy Renner just kills it!
"The Immigrant", James Gray's newest film, while retaining some of the gritty dark-crime dramatics of his previous work, feels like a radical departure. Mainly because its an Ellis Island-era period movie set 100 years ago, and because its observed through the eyes of a female protagonist and her struggle against permanent blight and the inherent depression of the situational times.

Fleeing the brutalities of Trotsky's Red Army, Polish Ewa (Marion Cotillard) and her sickly sister arrive in New York cira 1920. When her sister is quarantined and both are threatened with deportation, Ewa is taken notice and saved by the faux-sensitive brothell pimp Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix) and blackmailed into prostitution. Just when Ewa may succumb to the sort of drab, bleak life that she was trying to allude, Bruno's cousin Orlando the Magician (Jeremy Renner) shows up and both men via their own quirky methods try to light a fire in the heart of the pretty foreigner.

In her best part since "Rust and Bone", Cotillard is Oscar worthy in a showy albeit poetic performance (made all the more impressive that she speaks Polish throughout most of it). Phoenix is superb as usual, as the repressed and impotent man who wants to think he's in charge. But Renner steals the show. Right when you think the movie is going to slide under the weight of the misery of its subject, his Orlando appears like a glowing gaslight of fun amongst the dim rooms and crowded corridors. Like his work in "American Hustle", its criminal that his spritely performance here will go unrewarded and under the radar.

Although the universal tale of Gray's film isn't exactly something we haven't seen before (from Kazan's bold "America, America" to Ron Howard's putrid "Far and Away") "The Immigrant" presents a rare and thoughtful experience, one in which we can learn something about the lives of long ago as well as our own.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marion Cotillard was cast after she met director James Gray during a dinner at a French fish restaurant where Gray and her boyfriend Guillaume Canet were talking about the script of Blood Ties (2013). Gray and Cotillard proceeded to get into an argument about an actor. "She threw bread at my head and she mentioned that she thought I was a jerk. And of course as consequence I immediately loved her." Gray told he had never seen Cotillard in anything before, but was instantly drawn to her. "I thought she had a great face, and not just physically beautiful because she is, but a haunted quality, almost like a silent film actress. I've talked about this, but she reminded me of Maria Falconetti in the Carl Theodor Dreyer film [The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)]; able to convey depth of emotion without dialogue specifically. I watched every film of hers I could get my hands on. And then I knew I had to write something for her. So that's the genesis of this thing [The Immigrant]. I wrote the movie for her and Joaquin Phoenix, and if they hadn't wanted to do the movie, I'm not sure I would have made it", he told.


Quotes

Ewa Cybulska: We're almost there.
Ewa Cybulska: The doctors are looking, try to hold it in. You're just nervous. That brings it on. Try to close your ears and say a prayer, to the Mother of God.
Magda Cybulska: I will.
Ewa Cybulska: We'll find Aunt Edyta soon, and we'll be safe. We'll be together. We'll make ...


Goofs

The famous opera singer Enrico Caruso did sing at Ellis Island, but not in February 1921. Carusos's last performance was in late December 1920, after which his health deteriorated.


Soundtracks

La Rondine - Act III
Written by
Giacomo Puccini

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Drama | Romance

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