The Immigrant takes the form of a conversation between two unlikely good friends – the filmmaker and an Irish-American immigrant decades his senior. The film explores the hope, fear, adventure, and remorse that have accompanied centuries of Irish immigration through its story of a young woman who fled the violence and lack of opportunity of Northern Ireland, and now contemplates returning to her homeland after decades away. She finds social opportunity and a sense of belonging in Ireland, but is attached to the family she has created in the U.S. “I’m torn between the two worlds,” she states, reflecting on the inner conflict faced by a generation of Irish immigrants who’ve built lives abroad but long to return “home,” insomuch as they can still think of Ireland as their home.
For centuries, Ireland has cast off its children. James Joyce once wrote that “Ireland is a nation that confers honor only upon those who leave it.” But for the first time in its history, more people are moving into Ireland than moving out of it, and those who’ve left are contemplating coming back. That consideration provides the center of The Immigrant – after a lifetime of loss, will Irish immigrants in their fifties, sixties, and seventies, be able to make one last sacrifice to find a truth in their ideas of “home?”