6.8/10
2,810
59 user 36 critic

Focus (2001)

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In the waning months of World War II, a man and his wife are mistakenly identified as Jews by their anti-Semitic Brooklyn neighbors. Suddenly the victims of religious and racial persecution... See full summary »

Director:

Neal Slavin

Writers:

Arthur Miller (novel), Kendrew Lascelles (screenplay)
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William H. Macy ... Lawrence Newman
Laura Dern ... Gertrude Hart
David Paymer ... Mr. Finkelstein
Meat Loaf ... Fred (as Meat Loaf Aday)
Kay Hawtrey ... Mrs. Newman
Michael Copeman ... Carlson
Kenneth Welsh ... Father Crighton
Joseph Ziegler ... Mr. Gargan
Arlene Meadows Arlene Meadows ... Mrs. Dewitt
Peter Oldring ... Willy Doyle
Robert McCarrol Robert McCarrol ... Meeting Hall Man (as Robert Mccarrol)
Shaun Austin-Olsen Shaun Austin-Olsen ... Sullivan
Kevin Jubinville ... Mr. Cole Stevens
B.J. McQueen B.J. McQueen ... Mel
Conrad Bergschneider Conrad Bergschneider ... Tough's Leader
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Storyline

In the waning months of World War II, a man and his wife are mistakenly identified as Jews by their anti-Semitic Brooklyn neighbors. Suddenly the victims of religious and racial persecution, they find themselves aligned with a local Jewish immigrant in a struggle for dignity and survival. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Everything Is About To Become Very Clear

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material, violence and some sexual content | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 May 2002 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Foco See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,139, 21 October 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$717,820, 17 March 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Neal Slavin claimed to have wanted to make this film since college. See more »

Goofs

When Mr. Finklestein discovers the antisemitic note taped to his store window, it is attached with 3M "invisible/magic" tape developed in the 1970s. During the 1940s, cellophane tape was transparent, not translucent. See more »

Quotes

Lawrence 'Larry' Newman: Really, Gertrude, I never stop thinking about you. It's like I've been thinking about you for years. That's why you struck me so the first time I saw you.
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Crazy Credits

Thanks to the residents of Campbell Avenue & Wallace Avenue, Toronto, Ontario. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Shanghai Kiss (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Never Smile Again
(1939)
Written by Ruth Lowe
Performed by Glenn Miller
Published by Universal-MCA Music Publishing
A Division of Universal Studios, Inc. (ASCAP)
Courtesy of the RCA Music Corporation, a Division of BMG Entertainment
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User Reviews

 
The message is timeless - baseless hatred is stupid
20 November 2003 | by michaeljacobsSee all my reviews

The essential message - one which Miller would have surely intended after seeing Vichy war crimes trials - is that hatred of somebody without rational basis is a waste of life. Meat Loaf's character, Fred, has known Lawrence for many years, and yet when the time comes, at the bidding of his fanatical supporters, he allows them to attack a man who is not part of their "target" group. For me, this is the crucial message - it doesn't matter what Lawrence and his wife do from this point onwards - they are marked, and have chance to save themselves by using reason. Animal aggression and anger have blinded Fred's Union thugs to reality.

A friend of mine suggested I should see "The Wave" to study how irrational hatred and evil ideology can take over people without them realising it. I once conducted an experiment in a role-playing game, and was shocked to see how normal and level-headed people welcomed the creation of an oppressive police state - which would ultimate threaten them all - because it crept in in stages.

Fred is the start, his LA friends and preacher idol are the catalyst which pushes his neighbours over the edge into violence without stopping to think that what they are doing in wrong.

The relationship between Lawrence and Finkelstein, the Jewish shopkeeper is a fascinating one, because Lawrence misses the point almost until the end: if the bigots force Finkelstein out, where is he to go? If his family have fled the Nazis, what an irony to be tormented again in the land of "freedom".

That big poster (it's a fairly famous propaganda piece) about American families enjoying the highest standard of living in the world is a very important detail. When you see this film, watch for the grafitti on the subway train, and all the little posters. The message lurks there too.

This movie should be on the curriculum of every school, especially in our time when baseless hatred is being promoted so widely by "reasonable" people who are just extremists in thin disguises.


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