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Menashe

Joshua Z Weinstein

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A wonderful example of how good stories, well told, can be universal, Menashe takes us into the world of a single dad trying to cope with the pressures of meddling in-laws, a precarious job situation and raising his son from a distance. The fact that this particular tale is set in the heart of the Yiddish community in New York City quickly fades into the background as you’re drawn into the plight of this devoted father.

"Only the bond between him and his son seems unbreakable, as the rest of his life is falling apart." 

Menashe (played by Menashe Lustig, whose own story provided the basis for the film) is a Hasidic Jew whose luck always seems to be running out. After the death of his wife, the elders decree that his son must live with his wife’s family. Deeply shamed by this decision and feeling the separation keenly, Menashe tries to challenge them. Despite gamely trying to accomplish the tasks he sets himself to achieve his goal – earning more money at his grocery store job, finding a new wife, and even baking a cake – success always seems to elude him. Only the bond between him and his son seems unbreakable, as the rest of his life is falling apart.

Director Joshua Z Weinstein, a former cinematographer, brings an observational eye to his storytelling which is full of the everyday details and textures of the Yiddish community. Lustig is such a tremendous, delightful presence that even when he is making yet another mistake, you can’t help but feel keenly for him.

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