**** out of ****
James Gray’s The Immigrant, stars Marion Cotillard as a Polish woman who arrives on Ellis Island in 1921 only to have her accompanying sister quarantined for tuberculosis while other factors give cause for the possibility of immediate deportation. A seemingly kind man, played by Joaquin Phoenix, comes to her help and bribes one of the officers to allow her to leave the island with him. His ulterior motive becomes clear when he slowly lures her in to a life of burlesque shows and prostitution. He convinces her that she can earn enough money through him to get her sister back. Later, she meets a charming magician, played by Jeremy Renner, who wants to rescue her from this terrible life.
I can’t stress how beautifully this film is made while framing a despairing story of someone’s bitter entrance to the “land of opportunity.” In spite of some nudity and language, the film has a very classic tone in its drama and story of hope overcoming harsh circumstances. I highly recommend this one.