6.7/10
818
13 user 18 critic

Esther Kahn (2000)

A Jewish girl in nineteenth century London, dreams of becoming a stage actress.

Director:

Arnaud Desplechin

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Summer Phoenix ... Esther Kahn
Ian Holm ... Nathan Quellen
Fabrice Desplechin Fabrice Desplechin ... Philippe Haygard
Akbar Kurtha ... Samuel Kahn
Frances Barber ... Rivka Kahn
László Szabó ... Ytzhok Kahn
Hilary Sesta Hilary Sesta ... Buba
Claudia Solti Claudia Solti ... Mina Kahn
Berna Raif ... Becky Kahn
Paul Regan Paul Regan ... Joel
Arnold Brown Arnold Brown ... Rabbi
Leon Lissek ... Theatre manager
Ian Bartholomew Ian Bartholomew ... Norton
Samantha Lavelle Samantha Lavelle ... Christel
Paul Ritter ... Alman, the photographer
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Storyline

A Jewish girl in nineteenth century London, dreams of becoming a stage actress.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 October 2000 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Szenvedélyes színdarab See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Chosen by "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2000 (#01) See more »

Quotes

Nathan Quellen: Because what has to happen, is that every step you take has to be more unbelievable than the step before. E-Every step has to be - well it has to have an idea behind it, an idea t-that is so complex, it would take, 10 philosophers just to decipher it. Each step has to stretch like a rope - in the audience's mind. Until they can't bare it anymore and they want to cry out, "Careful Esther you're going to break it".
See more »

Connections

Referenced in I'm Still Here (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
exhausting yet unconvincing portrait of the artist as young woman
15 April 2001 | by gansSee all my reviews

The point of the vastly extended preparatory phase of this Star is Born story seems to be to make ultimate success all the more sublime. Summer Phoenix is very effective as an inarticulate young woman imprisoned within herself but never convincing as the stage actress of growing fame who both overcomes and profits from this detachment. Even in the lengthy scenes of Esther's acting lessons, we never see her carry out the teacher's instructions. After suffering through Esther's (largely self-inflicted) pain in excruciating detail, we are given no persuasive sense of her triumph.

The obsessive presence of the heroine's pain seems to be meant as a guarantee of aesthetic transcendence. Yet the causes of this pain (poverty, quasi-autism, Judaism, sexual betrayal) never come together in a coherent whole. A 163-minute film with a simple plot should be able to knit up its loose ends. Esther Kahn is still not ready to go before an audience.


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