Golden Door


Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    Sicilian-born filmmaker Emanuele Crialese takes a huge leap forward from his pretty but simplistic "Respiro" with this highly original, startlingly beautiful and emotionally resonant film.
  2. 100
    It's so hypnotically breathtaking, you don't realize you're not breathing. By the final shot, you don't realize you're crying either, but there go the tears.
  3. The familiar majesty of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline is replaced with anticipation and imagination. The sense of hope and wonder is the greater for it, and the sense of promise glows from the screen.
  4. Called "Nuovomondo" in its native Italy, it's bittersweet, neither as comic and sentimental as Charlie Chaplin's 1917 great silent comedy "The Immigrant," nor as cynical and epic as Elia Kazan's 1963 "America, America," but close to both.
  5. The Golden Door feels, at points, like a silent film - a silent film with CinemaScope vistas and dazzling, saturated color.
  6. 88
    Virtually everything Americans know about Ellis Island they've learned from the movies, and virtually all those movies were American. Golden Door offers the other side of the story, the one that ends at Ellis Island instead of beginning there.
  7. The greatness of Golden Door is its tone; sympathetic but always wry.
  8. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    An imaginative, intelligent and attractive Italo pic precisely when the country needs it most, Emanuele Crialese's Golden Door reps a solid piece of cinema that neither panders nor preaches.
  9. With dialogue kept to a minimum, cinematographer Agn├ęs Godard confirms her status as one of the most extraordinary visual artists working today.
  10. After countless films in which immigration plays a central role -- one of the earliest was Charlie Chaplin's 1917 silent classic "The Immigrant" while one of the best, Jan Troell's "The Emigrants," has never migrated to DVD -- you'd think the canon was essentially complete. Yet this visionary work adds to it by combining harsh realities with magic-realist fantasies.
  11. 80
    What makes Mr. Crialese's telling unusual, apart from the gorgeousness of his wide-screen compositions, is that his emphasis is on departure and transition, rather than arrival.
  12. Beautiful, spacey, trans-oceanic odyssey.
  13. 80
    Writ small, Golden Door is an absorbing and moving love story; writ large, it's the story we've never stopped telling ourselves.
  14. 80
    Italian writer-director Emanuele Crialese is best known for the art-house piffle "Respiro" (2002), a sun-kissed fairy tale that didn't prepare me for the weight and solidity of this historical drama about a Sicilian peasant family immigrating to the U.S.
  15. 75
    The acting is superb, especially the always alluring Charlotte Gainsbourg as a mysterious Englishwoman taking the ship to America. Agnes Godard's lensing is painterly, and Crialese's direction is seamless.
  16. Historians at Ellis Island estimate nearly half of all Americans had at least one ancestor pass through there between 1892 and 1954.
  17. 67
    Journey is weary, yet imaginative.
  18. As lovely to look at as it is dramatically inert.
  19. Draggy Italian epic that's big on production values but skimpy on inspiration.
  20. A sluggish procedural on what it was like to make the journey to Ellis Island back in the day.
  21. The movie never really comes alive, and Crialese's coyness with Lucy's character is more frustrating than mysterious.
  22. 50
    Despite the hardships depicted, Golden Door is a sweet film at heart, playing witness to the birth pangs of modern America with both due respect and the occasional comic grace note, but not, oddly, one single shot of the Statue of Liberty.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. EzekielB
    Jul 26, 2007
    A stunningly beautiful epic with a very original concept that breaks from the standard immigrant story, here it is the emigrant story about A stunningly beautiful epic with a very original concept that breaks from the standard immigrant story, here it is the emigrant story about departure, and the dream. Full Review »
  2. JimG
    Jun 21, 2007
    Some wonderful moments in this film visually and emotionally, but unfortunately uneven. Way better than most films however.
  3. KennethB.
    Jun 10, 2007
    50 minutes shorter and maybe there is a movie here! It just dragged on. The art direction and cinematography was excellent.