Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Movie Review: "The Immigrant" (2013)

Movie"The Immigrant"
Director: James Gray
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours
Image Source
Ewa Cybulska (Marion Cotillard) and her sister Magda (Angela Sarafyan) are Polish immigrants who have come to America to live with family and start their lives away from war-torn Poland. Magda gets separated from her sister at Ellis Island because she is ill and needs to be quarantined. Ewa is also met with trials of her own: she was deemed "a woman of low morals" on the boat to America, and is to be deported. A man named Bruno Weiss (Joaquin Phoenix), who has some connections at Ellis Island, comes to her aid and gives her a job. As it turns out, Bruno is a risque nightclub operator and small-time pimp, and he entices Ewa to become a prostitute as her promises that he can help her pay for her sister's treatment and eventually reunite them. 

We don't have very much to say about this movie. This is a dark and dismal look at one woman's experience as an immigrant from Poland in the 1920's. Ewa is a somewhat sympathetic character as she is threatened with deportation, rejected by her family, and penniless in a new, unfamiliar city. She does terrible and immoral things all in the name of helping her sister. Bruno seems like a good guy at first, but this mentality quickly dissolves as we see him become a jealous, controlling, bitter person. Jeremy Renner's character of Emil comes in late in the film and doesn't stick around for long, so there's not much to say about him. He's a cousin of Bruno's and eventually becomes a semi-love interest of Ewa's. He seems, like Bruno did at first, to be a good guy, but also looks out for his own best interests first and seems to enjoy tormenting Bruno. Though Bruno does have a few redeeming qualities, he is wholly unlikable. Pretty much every person in this movie is despicable at some point, and even when they are trying hard to be good, we really didn't connect with them at all. We feel like the director of this movie didn't do a very good job at connecting the audience with the characters as a whole, and when it was over, we were just sort of......there.

One cool thing we noticed during this movie was the dingy gray cast that was put over the entire film in post-production. It looks to have been toned-down so that the colors weren't too bright, and we like that since this movie is depressing and old-timey. Overall, the performances are pretty good, but the movie as a whole is moderately forgettable.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 87%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?


  1. There is a haunting mournful beauty to THE IMMIGRANT that breathes life into the ghosts of the past, at times romanticizing, at times brutalizing, but always living.

    1. I really wish we could say we liked this movie more. It was pretty to look at aesthetically, but some of its haunting beauty was lost on us.