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Parents' Guide to

Golden Door

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Punishing but eye-opening immigrant tale.

Movie PG-13 2007 120 minutes
Golden Door Poster Image

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Movies about the immigrant experience almost always ground the narrative in the new world, often with much success -- but wisely, director Emanuel Crialese doesn't trifle with any of that. For him, the old world -- and the journey from it -- holds much more drama. And he's right.

At first, Salvatore's flights of fancy (visions of money falling from trees like overripe fruit, for example) seem misplaced in a movie that's so straightforward about history. But these moments add levity to the merciless voyage itself. If only the movie could have offered even a glimpse of America. When the men climb a window to peer at the "bell towers" rising high with wooden boxes that transport people to their homes in the sky, can't viewers see what all the fuss is about, too? After all that pain and suffering and heartache, we want the payoff.

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