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.
In the rail yards of Queens, contractors repair and rebuild the city's subway cars. These contracts are lucrative, so graft and corruption are rife. When Leo Handler gets out of prison, he ... See full summary »
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. Written by
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. See more »
[standing in line at Ellis Island speaking Polish]
We're almost there.
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.
We'll find Aunt Edyta soon, and we'll be safe. We'll be together. We'll make our own families, have lots of children.
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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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