Those eyes, those eyes … Marion Cotillard can beat the world back with those eyes. And she does throughout The Immigrant, a rich and gorgeous period picture that is equally well-realized and well-acted. Set in 1920s New York City, James Gray’s motion picture shares both the palette and the pace of The Godfather, Part II (particularly the young Vito Corleone segments). The set up is similar – a fleeing immigrant escapes to America where she is left to make it on her own – and the two films maintain a similar stance on how American culture praises money most of all. But the broad-stroke similarities end there. Jeremy Renner, Joaquin Phoenix … all the major players are superb. But in the end it all comes back to Marion Cotillard, and the way she beats the world back with those eyes – a French actress playing a Polish refugee living in a Russo-Jewish neighborhood in post-war New York City. How’s that for an American dream?
(The Immigrant opens in limited release today.)