The Immigrant Feels Classical But Also Breathes

Visitor From Another Time

Critics' Pick Critics' Pick

Location Info


Angelika Film Center New York

18 West Houston Street
New York, NY 10012

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: Greenwich Village


The Immigrant
Directed by James Gray
The Weinstein Company
Opens May 16

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Cotillard, deft and subtle, is best of all. The new world Ewa has entered is hardly welcoming, but she strides into it with an explorer's spirit. Late in the film, trying to reconcile herself with all the unspeakable things she's done in order to help her sister, she wraps herself in a shawl and enters a Catholic church. "Is it a sin to want to survive when I have done so many bad things?" she asks the priest to whom she confesses. This isn't modern-day speech but proud, defiant movie dialogue, a distinct language that some may laugh at but that others will understand instinctively. Lines like these are like mutable vessels, changing shape and color depending on what the actor pours into them. Into this one Cotillard pours despair, anxiety, and more than a few drops of defiance. As a newcomer and a woman of little means, Ewa is at a disadvantage in this busy, indifferent world. The naked honesty of her face only makes everyone want to lie to her. But that doesn't make her the liar, and her fearlessness in the face of thieves and tricksters makes all the difference. The Immigrant is a story about the way determination can mutate into a kind of rough magic, turning a place where you're not wanted into one you can call home.

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