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
259 feature films. 19 days. 1 city. The 2019 Melbourne International Film Festival was a huge success - check out our reviews here!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, 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.

'MENASHE' TRAILER

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
DIRECTOR: Joshua Z. Weinstein
WRITERS: Joshua Z. Weinstein
Alex Lipschultz
Musa Syeed
PRODUCERS: Daniel Finkelman
Yoni Brook
Alex Lipschultz
Traci Carlson
Joshua Z. Weinstein
MenasheFilm
MenasheFilm
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Amazing Grace - A stunning moment from Aretha Franklin's life
TRENDINGWIN AMAZING GRACEA stunning moment from Aretha Franklin's life
The Nightingale - A dark, vengeful song
TRENDINGWIN THE NIGHTINGALEA dark, vengeful song
The Seer and the Unseen - Elves and environmentalism under the Northern Lights
TRENDINGTHE SEER AND THE UNSEENElves and environmentalism under the Northern Lights
The Australian Dream - The conversation Australia needs to have
TRENDINGTHE AUSTRALIAN DREAMThe conversation Australia needs to have
Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan - Close to home
TRENDINGDANGER CLOSE: THE BATTLE OF LONG TANClose to home
Portrait of a Lady on Fire - A perfect film on the language of desire
TRENDINGPORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIREA perfect film on the language of desire
Double Lover - Softcore pornography for cinephiles
TRENDINGDOUBLE LOVERSoftcore pornography for cinephiles
The Keeper - The true story of the Nazi goalkeeper and the English girl
TRENDINGTHE KEEPERThe true story of the Nazi goalkeeper and the English girl
Take Me Somewhere Nice - The road less travelled
TRENDINGTAKE ME SOMEWHERE NICEThe road less travelled
And Then We Danced - A passionate and remarkable classic in the making
TRENDINGAND THEN WE DANCEDA passionate and remarkable classic in the making
The Day Shall Come - A hilarious take on a flawed system
TRENDINGTHE DAY SHALL COMEA hilarious take on a flawed system
Parasite - A bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
TRENDINGPARASITEA bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
2040 - A hopeful look into our environmental future
TRENDING2040A hopeful look into our environmental future
Rampant - Ho-hum historical Korean zombie thrills
TRENDINGRAMPANTHo-hum historical Korean zombie thrills
Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw - Very furious, not so fast
TRENDINGFAST & FURIOUS: HOBBS & SHAWVery furious, not so fast
The Final Quarter - Tackling a shameful chapter in AFL history
TRENDINGTHE FINAL QUARTERTackling a shameful chapter in AFL history
Standing Up For Sunny - A comedy without the comedy but very sweet
TRENDINGSTANDING UP FOR SUNNYA comedy without the comedy but very sweet
Claire Darling - A French film fail
TRENDINGCLAIRE DARLINGA French film fail
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
TRENDINGTHE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALEAn extremely silly zomedy
The Angry Birds Movie 2 - Flying a little bit higher the second time around
TRENDINGTHE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2Flying a little bit higher the second time around
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us