Cotillard plays Ewa Cybulski, a Polish Catholic immigrant who arrives at Ellis Island with her sister full of hope for a new life in America.
But sister Magda, played by Angela Sarafyan, has tuberculous. She is quarantined and facing deportation, while Ewa is left to fend for herself on the rough tenements of New York’s Lower East Side.
She’s spotted by Bruno Weiss (Phoenix), a shady cabaret owner and pimp who befriends her and takes her in. To raise money to free her sister, Ewa agrees to dance for Bruno, and he forces her into prostitution.
Bruno’s cousin, Orlando (Renner), who works as a magician, falls for Ewa and restores her faith in the American dream and offers her a chance to escape Bruno’s clutches.
The film, shot last year, screened at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, the 2013 New York Film Festival, and the 2013 Chicago International Film Festival.
Based on limited reviews, the picture scored a 91 percent rating on rottentomatoes.com which tracks movie reviews.
“The ambient fury of the director James Gray’s teeming historical drama is built into the very fabric of his tensely unbalanced wide-screen images,” wrote Richard Brody in The New Yorker.
The film opens May 16. Check out the trailer below and keep up with the latest movie news by follow TheImproper on Twitter.