After the death of her parents, Ewa, a young polish woman, and her sister, Magna, head to America in search of a new start. When they reach Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda suffers from lung disease, and the two women are seperated. Ewa is released onto the mean streets of Manhattan under the care of Bruno, a charming but wicked man who forces her into prostitution as a way to make the money necessary to help her sister Magda. James Gray's The Immigrant is a beautifully crafted narrative that captures this dark time-period with unequivocal accuracy. The Immigrant is a tough story to watch but in the end it's a story of forgiveness and hope. There are no true bad guys in The Immigrant, with each character having their own faults, each doing whatever they feel is necessary to survive during this cruel time period. Bruno is one of the most fascinating characters in recent memory, a man whose no doubt vile when we first meet him, but the transition that he makes as the narrative unfolds is truly resonant. Through Ewa, The Immigrant captures the distrust in everything that this life breeds to the point that even Orlando, a man who shows great affection for Ewa, cannot be trusted. I loved the dynamic between Bruno and his cousin Orlando, and as the film progresses Gray subverts the viewers expectations about these two men. Orlando seems to be a man with only good intentions but if you watch and listen closely you begin to question even his interest in helping Ewa. I found myself wondering if he even cared for Ewa, with his fascination possibly being more to do with taking something from his cousin than her overall well-being. Much like life itself no character's moral compass is set in stone, with every character motivation and decision feeling authentic and genuine. Featuring absolutely beautiful cinematography that perfectly places the viewer in the time period, fully-dimensioned characters, and a beautiful narrative, James Gray's The Immigrant is a film that should be seen.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.