The Immigrant is a tear jerking period piece from director James Gray. This film was released back in April 2014 after being well received at film festivals. The drama stars Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, who plays a young and beautiful immigrant new to the states in the 1920s. Adjusting to the new world is not an easy task and leaves her in the company of people who just want to exploit her. Cinematographer Darius Khondji paints the scene with pale sepia to bring the viewer back to the past, portraying the roaring twenties in the heart of a bustling New York City.
When Ewa Cybuslski and her sister arrive at Ellis Island they do not receive the warm welcome they thought they would when they left their homeland. They left Poland to escape the hardships they faced there only to discover it was not over yet. With her sister sent off to quarantine, Ewa finds herself being deported for misbehaving on the journey over. Another possibility could be, her reputation as a harlot got ahead of her. Her only hope is to trust a charming pimp she just met named Bruno Weiss, portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix. He brings her to his city theater club where behind all the fun is just a glorified brothel. She is reliant on Bruno for money as she attempts to pay her sister’s way out of the hospital unsuccessfully. Ewa becomes immersed in the life style with no other means at her disposal. The Immigrant truly brings out the spirit of the flapper generation, both the good and the bad.
Ewa sinks down into a series of degrading and depressing experiences. The girl is emotionally drained when budding magician Emil spots her. Emil is a kind-hearted man played by the straight shooter Jeremy Renner. Bruno and Emil begin competing for Ewa affection, which in turn causes a large fight between both men. The story of Ewa is a perfect portrayal of how young immigrant women were frequently forced into big city prostitution rings with no other means to support themselves.
Marion Cotillard pulls off another emotionally convincing performance in The Immigrant. Her classic looks always pair nicely with the period pieces she so often plays. Ewa is a broken girl but still has so much drive to carry on. As a highly religious girl of her era she believed that what she was doing was truly wrong, and therefore she carried around a sense of self-loathing with her.
Although The Immigrant did not do so great in the box office it was showcased at the Cannes Film Festival. The film got great reviews including an 86 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.6 on IMDB. With proper writing and a great cast the film holds its own for a more reserved audience. The music score has a powerful effect on the movie as well, and the gloomy nature of the film is haunting a way that successfully captures viewer’s attention. For history and tragedy buffs The Immigrant is a must see movie of 2014.
Review By: Morgan Louchen