Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. 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.
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    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.
  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. 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.
  6. The Golden Door feels, at points, like a silent film - a silent film with CinemaScope vistas and dazzling, saturated color.
  7. The greatness of Golden Door is its tone; sympathetic but always wry.
  8. Reviewed by: Jean Oppenheimer
    80
    With dialogue kept to a minimum, cinematographer Agn├ęs Godard confirms her status as one of the most extraordinary visual artists working today.
  9. Beautiful, spacey, trans-oceanic odyssey.
  10. 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.
  11. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    80
    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.
  12. 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.
  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. The movie never really comes alive, and Crialese's coyness with Lucy's character is more frustrating than mysterious.
  21. 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.
  22. Reviewed by: Gregory Kirschling
    50
    A sluggish procedural on what it was like to make the journey to Ellis Island back in the day.

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