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The 2013 Cannes Review Report: ‘The Immigrant’

The 2013 Cannes Review Report: 'The Immigrant'

The Cannes Review Report rounds up each day’s notable premieres, along with a sampling of their reviews and tweets from the south of France. Here’s the reaction to “The Immigrant,” the latest film from James Gray, director of “The Yards” and “Two Lovers.”

The Immigrant
Category: Competition
Director: James Gray
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner
Synopsis: “1921. In search of a new start and the American dream, Ewa Cybulski and her sister Magda sail to New York from their native Poland. When they reach Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda is ill, and the two women are separated. Ewa is released onto the mean streets of Manhattan while her sister is quarantined. Alone, with nowhere to turn and desperate to reunite with Magda, Ewa quickly falls prey to Bruno, a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. And then one day, she encounters Bruno’s cousin, the debonair magician Orlando. He sweeps Ewa off her feet and quickly becomes her only chance to escape the nightmare in which she finds herself.”


Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage:

The final effect is a film laden with nostalgia that feels ripped right from the past, making way for its own unique examination of a transformative period in American history.”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian:

James Gray’s shapeless, stifling opera of sorrow is overlaid with a thick sepia of solemnity that can’t obscure its lack of ideas.”

Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon:

I can point to moments where this film has opportunities to get things right, but each time it fails and only compounds each mundane decision by repeating itself until all that’s left is to walk out.”

Dave Calhoun, Time Out London:

“Airless and equivocal.”

Brian Clark, Twitch:

“While the film boasts great performances, the narrative and overall drama lacks the ferocity, momentum and intensity of Grey’s other work.”

Robbie Collin, The Telegraph:

“Unquestionably the biggest disappointment of the festival.”

Jordan Cronk, The House Next Door:

There are moments of emotional devastation here worthy of Shakespeare, the combined power of the film’s arc is reminiscent of Francis Ford Coppola’s work or even that of the last generation of epic filmmakers from Hollywood’s golden age.”

Mike D’Angelo, A.V. Club:

“A self-conscious approximation of Hollywood’s Golden Age, and the result, while reasonably compelling, feels secondhand.”

Peter Debruge, Variety:

This rich, beautifully rendered film boasts an arrestingly soulful performance from Marion Cotillard.”

David Jenkins, Little White Lies:

“This movie left me utterly cold.”

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist:

“All the best qualities of [Gray’s] intelligent style are here in abundance.”

Eric Kohn, Indiewire:

“A conflicting experience admirable and powerfully executed in parts, cold and meandering in others.”

Guy Lodge, HitFix:

“A painstakingly restrained but profoundly romantic coming-to-America drama.”

Derek Malcolm, Evening Standard:

A sincere and decently handled portrait of a time when so many believed the US to be an almost mythical land of plenty.”

Lee Marshall, Screen Daily:

“Though Gray offers a well-crafted package, especially on the visual front, there’s surprisingly little contemporary resonance in this immigration melodrama.”

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter:

Marion Cotillard scores another triumph as a Polish woman whose welcome to 1920s New York could scarcely be more trying.”

Richard Porton, Daily Beast:

“One of the strongest films in this year’s festival Competition.”

Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York:

I won’t soon forget the storm of emotion that overcame me upon the film’s sublime final fade-out: The shock of the old made new, a miracle achieved, a great movie rising before me — like a delusion, like a dream.”

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice:

Gray has a knack for wrapping big themes into an intimate embrace, and The Immigrant feels both epic and fine-grained.”


Alex Billington, First Showing:

“The Immigrant – Yea that was a trainwreck. Boring story, awful performances. Even Marion Cotillard could’ve save it. Worst of fest. #cannes

Kenji Fujishima, In Review Online:

“It’s rare for a movie to leave me teary-eyed, but Joaquin Phoenix has a monologue near the end of THE IMMIGRANT that did it. #Cannes2013”

Tim Grierson, Paste:

“THE IMMIGRANT: James Gray’s period drama is so intelligently made, beautifully rendered and yet so oddly uninvolving. #Cannes”

Aaron Hillis, MovieMaker Magazine:

“THE IMMIGRANT: Soulful, classical, a future classic? Wasn’t sold on Joaquin or J-Renner casting until the shattering end; my fault. #cannes”

Michal Oleszczyk, RogerEbert.com:

“THE IMMIGRANT has just received Palme d’Oleszczyk at #Cannes. Hope Steven and gang will follow.”

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