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.
Leo is released from prison after serving time for car theft. His plan to go straight falls apart when he meets his corrupt uncle for a job and later an old friend working there. It culminates at the (railroad) yards.
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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The Immigrant has all the ingredients to be a blockbuster and an excellent movie: great actors, fantastic production, great atmosphere, historical settings, and a touching story about the harshness of immigration in the USA after the WW1 without sugar-coated BS. Yet, for whatever reason, the movie felt flat most of the time to me, and not touching despite the story being a priori very touching.
Phoenix is always great in whatever he does, and he's the only actor whose character I felt and believed to be real in this film. Marion Cotillard is really sweet but, despite the role being written for her, the dramatic coloratura of the script, speaking in Polish, and shedding the perfect tear, her acting feels flat, as if she had taken a muscular relaxant during the film; unfortunately, I didn't think her acting was coming from the heart and it didn't touch mine. I found Jeremy Renner miscast in his role, he has no chemistry with Cotillard on camera and he was never meant to be a rival of the always powerful Phoenix.
The script has no tempo, unfortunately, so it dragged me alone on a two-hour flat ride. You know, the movie is really sad and emotional, but it rarely moved me, intrigued me, or kept me waiting for what was coming next. The movie felt, depending of the times, clichéd, phony, overly melodramatic, a bit frigid, but mostly unfocused and confused, and that's always the director's fault.
Overall, this is a nice film to watch, but it deflates before it gets fully inflated. There are many things I liked about this film, truly, but nothing I really loved, unfortunately.
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