For millions of immigrants, Ellis Island was more than the gateway to America. It represented the opportunities and freedoms that did not exist in their previous homelands.
In the 2006 movie, Golden Door, Salvatore Mancuso (Vincenzo Amato) is a poor farmer from Sicily whose wife has died. Together with his surviving family, they hope to emigrate to America. On the ship bound for Ellis Island, he meets Lucy Reed (Charlotte Gainsbourg) who hopes to enter the US as a Mrs. and not a Miss. They agree to marry. But when they get to Ellis Island, both Lucy and Salvatore are in for a rude awakening. Before they can leave the island and truly become Americans, they have to pass a series of examinations and hope that the customs officials are satisfied with the results.
Like many Americans, my immigrant great-grandparents were part of the millions who passed through Ellis Island. What I appreciate about this film is not just the entertaining narrative, but it sheds on the lengths that many went through so they could truly call themselves Americans.
I recommend it.