The American director James Gray is beloved in France, but has struggled to find a footing in the U.S. His two Joaquin Phoenix/Mark Wahlberg crime dramas—2000’s The Yards and 2007’s We Own the Night—got mixed reviews and disappointing box office results; his quieter 2008 movie, Two Lovers, was a bit better received, but still seems underappreciated.
So will The Immigrant fare better? The reviews from Cannes were largely positive, and some were glowing—plus the film has the sort of grand historical canvas that seems to attract critical respect. It stars Marion Cotillard as a Polish immigrant whose sick sister is detained at Ellis Island. A “low-rent burlesque purveyor” (Joaquin Phoenix) offers her the chance to get to Manhattan, where a magician (Jeremy Renner) forms the third part of a love triangle.
It’s a melodrama, and the first trailer—coming to us, not surprisingly, from France—suggests that it will, at the very least, be lovely to look at. (It is also very mildly unsafe for work, by the way—and a bit of a downer. It was definitely made with French audiences in mind.)
The movie premieres next month in, yes, France, but will not arrive in the U.S. until spring.