The Immigrant (2013)

Directed By – James Gray

Screenplay By – James Gray & Ricard Menello

Cinematography By – Darius Khondji

Starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix & Jeremy Renner

120 min.

I was very reluctant to watch The Immigrant but after reading some positive reviews I gave it a chance. Marion Cotillard who has several haters actually does a really good job. She plays a believable Polish “immigrant” who gets forced into prostitution. But that’s where I’m not so fond of The Immigrant. In the beginning, Gray makes out Cotillard’s character, Ewa, to be an educated independent woman, but she lets herself repeatedly get screwed and never really takes agency over her situation. Of course the scapegoat of all of this is that her sister is still on Ellis Island in the sick ward, and so Ewa refuses to leave New York for a better life until she frees her sister.

If you take some of these plot holes aside, The Immigrant is a really solid period piece. The costumes are fun, the sets are intricate, and the acting, especially by Phoenix is great. Surprising Jeremy Renner has a ton of charisma in this movie. I never really took Renner for much of a dynamic actor, he mostly seemed like he needed a gun in his hand, even considering The Hurt Locker, but he nails his part as Orlando the Magician, a man who falls in love with Ewa.

If you’re looking for a solid movie that tells a sad tale about American immigration then The Immigrant will get the job done. I don’t think it is an extremely original story but it has more pro’s than con’s and is worth a watch.

God Bless America

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