Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
Want more? Listen to our discussion of 'Menashe' on SWITCHCast
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Daniel shares one of his favourite Disney films, ‘The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad’, on a new episode of Ink & Paint!x
review, Menashe, Menashe, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Menashe Lustig, Ruben Niborski, Yoel Weisshaus, Meyer Schwartz, Yoel Falkowitz, Josh Alpert, Abraham Bresky, Jorge Cea, Avi Friedman, Joshua Z. Weinstein, Joshua Z Weinstein, Drama film rating

MENASHE

★★★

A MAN TORN BETWEEN FAMILY AND COMMUNITY

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Charlie David Page
4th February 2018

We live in a world where, daily, the human race is becoming more homogenised. Some may say it's the inevitable outcome of globalisation, yet I see it more as a loss of individuality. This can be seen most prevalently in small societies outside the mainstream, who struggle to hold onto a particular way of life. The Hasidic community are an ultra-orthodox Jewish community who are also extremely private, as they both try to keep the modern world at bay whilst holding steadfast in their beliefs. The fact that 'Menashe' takes a glimpse inside this community is a rare opportunity, made all the more meaningful by the importance it places on authenticity.

Menashe is a well-meaning yet hapless grocery clerk living in New York whose wife passed away around a year ago. His rabbi insists that he needs to get married again, or he'll be unfit to raise his son Rieven (Ruben Niborski) on his own. Clearly still mourning the loss of his wife, and struggling to keep his life together, he fights to keep his son close whilst still abiding by his religion's strict rules.

WATCH: 'MENASHE'

This is a fascinating film for so many reasons - for one, it's almost entirely in Yiddish, a language not seen in cinema for many decades. Director and co-writer Joshua Z Weinstein (who, by the way, states on his Twitter profile: "no relation"), while Jewish himself yet not Hasidic, worked hard to form a relationship to gain access into to this world. But what's most fascinating is that this film sits on the border between fiction and reality - Menashe is being played by Menashe Lustig, an actual grocery clerk whose wife did die, and yes, whose son was sadly removed from his home. It makes the performance very real and adds to its documentary-like quality, with Menashe and the bulk of the cast not professional actors - in fact, many had never even seen a film in their lives. To further increase the naturalism, many scenes were shot on long lenses from a block away to keep the action as real as possible.

The work between Menashe and his on-screen son is definitely the highlight of this film, and the amount of raw heart that actor Menashe puts into this role is wonderful.

While its authenticity is genuinely fascinating, it does also end up being the film's weak point. We often end up dwelling on certain scenes for longer than necessary, and the decision to cast only genuinely ultra-orthodox performers - from a religion known to be very dubious of outside media - means that not all of the performances are stellar. You also can't help but cringe at come concepts which are misaligned with current society - like the idea that women should stay at home to cook, clean and take care of the house, and even some rabbis teaching that they shouldn't drive a car (and in the film, one woman agrees, saying it's unnatural).

The work between Menashe and his on-screen son is definitely the highlight of this film, and the amount of raw heart that actor Menashe puts into this role is wonderful. Struggling to keep his son in his life and being respectful of his traditional values is a tough balance, particularly for a man who seems incomplete without his wife. Seeing Hasidism through his eyes gives us new perspective on the religion and the people, and witnessing this closed-off community in possibly the most credible way ever captured in cinema is a valuable experience.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 08/02/2018
RUN TIME: 1h 22m
CAST: Menashe Lustig
Ruben Niborski
Yoel Weisshaus
Meyer Schwartz
Yoel Falkowitz
Josh Alpert
Abraham Bresky
Jorge Cea
Avi Friedman
DIRECTORS: Joshua Z. Weinstein
Joshua Z Weinstein
WRITERS: Joshua Z. Weinstein
Alex Lipschultz
Musa Syeed
Joshua Z Weinstein
PRODUCERS: Daniel Finkelman
Yoni Brook
Alex Lipschultz
Traci Carlson
Joshua Z. Weinstein
Joshua Z Weinstein
MenasheFilm
MenasheFilm
Want more? Listen to our discussion of 'Menashe' on SWITCHCast 
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Never Rarely Sometimes Always - The film every teenager needs to see
TRENDINGNEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYSThe film every teenager needs to see
Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Opry - Celebrating the Queen of country music
TRENDINGWIN DOLLY PARTON: 50 YEARS AT THE OPRYCelebrating the Queen of country music
About A Boy - All grown up 15 years on
TRENDINGABOUT A BOYAll grown up 15 years on
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
23 Walks - A story of dogs, walks and romance later in life
TRENDING23 WALKSA story of dogs, walks and romance later in life
The Pickup Game - A confronting reveal of the pickup industry
TRENDINGTHE PICKUP GAMEA confronting reveal of the pickup industry
After We Collided - Wattpad returns to the screen for slightly better, still dumb, results
TRENDINGAFTER WE COLLIDEDWattpad returns to the screen for slightly better, still dumb, results
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse - Fairly brainless
TRENDINGSCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSEFairly brainless
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
Inseparable Bros - A heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
Wet Woman in the Wind - A sexy struggle for conquest
TRENDINGWET WOMAN IN THE WINDA sexy struggle for conquest
God of the Piano - A tale that tickles the ivories
TRENDINGGOD OF THE PIANOA tale that tickles the ivories
Red Pill, Blue Pill - 10 Films Influenced by 'The Matrix' on its 20th anniversary
TRENDINGRED PILL, BLUE PILL10 Films Influenced by 'The Matrix' on its 20th anniversary
Swans: Where Does a Body End? - An exhaustive look at an exhausting band
TRENDINGSWANS: WHERE DOES A BODY END?An exhaustive look at an exhausting band
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
TRENDINGTHE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALEAn extremely silly zomedy
Easy A - Top marks for the teen comedy on its 10th anniversary
TRENDINGEASY ATop marks for the teen comedy on its 10th anniversary
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
Trolls World Tour - Poppy and the gang are back - and rocking harder than ever
TRENDINGTROLLS WORLD TOURPoppy and the gang are back - and rocking harder than ever
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us