What You Need To Know:
GOLDEN DOOR (more appropriately titled NEW WORLD in its home country) is an evocative foreign movie that is both lyrical and realistic at the same time. Vincenzo Amato holds the movie together with his performance as Salvatore. The worldview is primarily Christian and has a generally positive attitude about America, but there is brief male and female nudity and a couple references to pagan, occult superstitions.
(CC, B, FR, Pa, O, P, AP, Ab, L, V, NN, D, M) Strong Christian worldview with positive references to God mitigated by some pagan superstition and occult beliefs from a man's mother, with a sometimes positive, if idealized view of America, which, however, is shown to have its own superstitions about race and inherent intelligence, plus strange song over end credits about God has one lyric that makes God seem mean but other lyrics may be positive though cryptic; three obscenities and one light profanity; phony country medicine woman magically pulls snake from sick woman's body which she says is possessed, storm at sea violently tosses immigrants packed like sardines in ship's lower deck and woman apparently holds blanketed dead baby in her arms; no sex scenes but man tells another man to protect the virtue of two young women who are traveling to America to get married; brief female nudity in one or two scenes plus upper and rear male nudity when immigrants get medical exam and man has placed his hand over his private parts; no alcohol; smoking; and, lying, plus gossip is rebuked.
GOLDEN DOOR is a realistic, but often lyrical, Italian movie about a widowed immigrant traveling to America with his family on a crowded ship.
The movie opens with Salvatore Mancuso and his older son, Angelo, picking their way barefoot along a rocky Sicilian hillside to put rocks of devotion under a Christian cross while they pray. Salvatore wants to leave Sicily and go to America where, some phony postcards later suggest, giant vegetables flourish and money grows on trees. He asks God for a sign.
A dubious sign (the postcards) appears, so Salvatore packs up his two sons and his superstitious mother, stopping along the way to get some rumpled fancy clothes and shoes for himself and his two sons. They take along two girls from their village, who have been promised to unmarried American men. At the bustling Italian docks, they encounter a stranded Englishwoman, Lucy, who is trying to go with the Italian immigrants so she too can get to America.
On the ship, Salvatore strikes up a friendship with Lucy, who speaks fluent Italian. Attracted to the noble Salvatore, Lucy nevertheless considers several proposals from a matchmaker on the ship to marry a rich man.
Once at Ellis Island, Lucy and Salvatore and his family are subjected to a series of medical tests and IQ tests to see if they are worthy to enter the land of flowing milk (images of Salvatore swimming in a river of milk symbolize the promise of America and the New World).
GOLDEN DOOR, which is more appropriately titled NEW WORLD in its home country, is an evocative foreign movie that is both lyrical and realistic at the same time. Vincenzo Amato holds the movie together with his performance as Salvatore, but Charlotte Gainsbourg as Lucy, though good, might have used a better-written character.
Brief female and male nudity earned GOLDEN DOOR a PG-13 rating. The worldview is primarily Christian and has a generally positive attitude about America, though the character of Salvatore’s mother displays some pagan superstition and the American authorities at Ellis Island have their own superstitions about race and intelligence.