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3.0
68 Ratings

Menashe

Directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein
United States, Israel, 2017

Synopsis

Within Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community, a widower battles for custody of his son. A tender drama performed entirely in Yiddish, the film intimately explores the nature of faith and the price of parenthood.

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Menashe Directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein
Neither Weinstein nor his fellow writers speak Yiddish. So the actors were given free rein to translate the English script as they saw fit. The resulting dialogue comes across as refreshingly unpolished—the English subtitles rightly read like a translation, not like a superior original. The same unpolished veneer characterizes the film’s visuals.
October 15, 2017
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It’s full of lovely grace notes in which nothing much happens, but which deepen our understanding of this self-segregated corner of the world. A documentary filmmaker, Weinstein brings to his first narrative fiction an anthropologist’s eagle eye for the layered complexities of set-apart subcultures. He honors the cadences and rhythms of this community, its joy in ritual and ecstatic singing.
July 27, 2017
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Weinstein’s juxtapositions are as clever a means of skewering religious hypocrisy as his deadpan sense of humor (Menashe’s rabbi, encouraging him to get married: “The Talmud says three things bring a man peace: a nice wife, a nice house, and nice dishes”). But he manages to dole out empathy to everyone, including Menashe’s rabbi, his brother-in-law, and the other strict and frum Haredim.
July 26, 2017
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