Thursday, October 26, 2017

MOVIE - Menashe

PG (1:21)
Limited release 7/28/27
Viewed 10/26/17 at Carlisle Theater (downtown)
IMBd: 6.4/10
RT Critic:  96  Audience:  64
Critic's Consensus:  Menashe offers an intriguing look at a culture whose unfamiliarity to many viewers will be rendered irrelevant by the story's universally affecting themes and thoughtful approach.
Cag:  2/Okay
Directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein
A24 Films
Based on a real story, and protagonist is portrayed by the real person on which it's based.

My comments:  I had high expectations for this movie but came out feeling just "meh"  No joy, no joy at all.  A very depressing film.  I shouldn't be surprised, I suppose, because I almost always feel that way after I watch anything about any kind of deeply religious cult. I'm afraid I can't rate this very highly.  Not recommended.

RT/ IMDb Summary:  Deep in the heart of New York's ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish community, Menashe--a kind, hapless grocery store clerk--struggles to make ends meet and responsibly parent his young son, Rieven, following his wife Leah's death. Tradition prohibits Menashe from raising his son alone, so Rieven's strict uncle adopts him, leaving Menashe heartbroken. Meanwhile, though Menashe seems to bungle every challenge in his path, his rabbi grants him one special week with Rieven before Leah's memorial. It's his chance to prove himself a suitable man of faith and fatherhood, and restore respect among his doubters.

Also:  Menashe, a widower, lives and works within the Hasidic community of Borough Park, Brooklyn. Since his wife passed away a year before, he has been trying hard to regain custody of his nine-year-old son, Rieven. But the rabbi (and all the community behind him) will not hear of it unless he re-marries, which Menashe does not want, his first marriage having been very unhappy. Father and son get on well together, but can Menashe take care of Rieven properly? Not really for all his goodwill as he holds down a low-paid job as a grocery clerk that consumes too much of his efforts and energy. Always late, always in a hurry, he endeavors to improve himself though. But will his efforts be enough to convince the rabbi that he can be a good father without a wife at home?

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