My Father My Lord (2007) Poster

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10/10
A moving character study of an Orthodox Jewish family
AustenD27 November 2009
This movie can seem a little slow if you are expecting a traditional Western film, but if you watch this film with an open mind willing to enjoy the art of the film-maker, then this film is absolutely phenomenal! After watching this film for the first time, I just sat there in silence, moved into thoughtfulness at its conclusion.

This film is an in-depth character study of an Orthodox Jewish family in Israel. It is told largely through imagery, supplemented with sparse conversations which are in Hebrew with English subtitles. The film follows a few days in the life of this family which demonstrates their fervent devotion to their God and religion. Most of the story is told from the perspective of their young son (again, mostly in silence through his eyes), in a very realistic portrayal of Orthodox Jewish families in Israel.

Though you don't really perceive it until the end, the film is focused around this family's response to their faith meeting tragedy. Much of the imagery and many subtle themes wrap around this central idea.

The film-makers have done an excellent job with this film, in my opinion. Theirs is not a traditional film model, and I really appreciated this. This story is truly a work of art, and it has become one of my favorite movies. It is well worth a thoughtful viewing that will challenge how you live your own faith.
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7/10
Profound and deeply moving, but a bit too "art house" for my tastes.
MitchB-65 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Director Volach was exhausted today after receiving Tribeca's 2007 Founder's Award for Best Narrative Feature, but gamely answered questions after the screening. He speaks with some authority on the Haredi community he depicts as Volach was born and raised into it but no longer participates because as he says, he has simply "grown up." The original title translates to "Summer Vacation" but this was felt too pat for American and European audiences.

Film stars Assaf Dayan (son of the mono-eyed hero) a notoriously secular Israeli playing Rav Avrohom, at middle-age a relatively young, minor sage of slight conceit in Jerusalem's profoundly orthodox communities. His wife Esther is much younger and dotes on their only child Menachem, a sweetly innocent cheder boy. Esther is the saintly core of the small family's blissful domestic life. Every frame is lovingly crafted in this finely acted and scored film, which drives hard and true to its excruciating conclusion.
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6/10
too slow a movement
timberlady118 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is a modern re-play of Abraham's sacrifice. The devoted Rabbi, like the biblical patriarch Abraham, a father in old age, dedicates his life to the service of G'd , without any questioning of the preferences and priorities, human relations demand, in his case, the relationship with his only son of very young age and his sensitive wife, the people dearest to him. The movie hints to the biblical myth already at a rather early stage of the narrative and prepares the tragedy. The rhythm though is too slow, to keep the regular spectator interested and I presume, most will leave before the final dramatic development. The movie actually opens and questions the same moral religious question as Abraham's sacrifice does.
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10/10
Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers. See the movie first, then come back and read.
jumpcode67311 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Please don't read this until you've seen the movie.

OK.

For me, this movie isn't about critiquing anybody, tragedies happen to everyone, and nobody does anything irresponsible, accidents just happen. If you never take a chance, then don't drive to get ice cream, never leave the house, it's too dangerous.

For me, the movie is a wonderful example of the use of foreshadowing. I can usually predict what is going to happen long before anyone else. Here, the foreshadowing was very very subtle, yet, present throughout the film. it's not until the end that you discover you've been played the whole time, every moment of the film has hidden foreshadowing in it. The whole story, the tension between the father and the son, that's just a distraction, you think it's the son who will come to appreciate the father he doesn't yet value.

Seeing the film the second time through I enjoyed the acting from all three main actors as well as the in your face foreshadowing that, first time through, I didn't even see at all.

Here's my list of foreshadowing's that I missed completely: 1. The boy trying to cross the dangerous street, by himself (sent by his mother, so the film isn't a critique of the father) 2. The boy reaching *over* a black death notice on the billboard, the parallel of his later seen in the movie. Of course, the ride to death ticket is just above the death notice, that bus takes him to his death. You gotta count that. 3. The multiple times the story talks about the sacrifice of Isaac. 4. The boy couldn't get the replacement sacrifice to stick to the board. What? Four times? He can't put the alternate sacrifice back into the story, so obviously (in retrospect) the son will die. 5. Sending away the mother bird by the father. Why? So you can take the young. Last time I checked, and I should have caught this, it's so you can take the eggs, but the movie changed it to "young" to parallel the taking of the young boy. 6.The breaking of the glass by the young birds. That's gotta mean something, breaking the family maybe. 7. The mother binding the yarmulke to the boy's head, parallel to the binding of Isaac. That's not normally done, and only the one boy had that done, none of the other boys had their kippahs tied on like that, it was foreshadowing to parallel the binding of Isaac. 8. Telling of the sending away of the mother bird. Then what happens next?? The mother gets off the bus, sent away, only then can the boy be "taken". That's the very next scene, how could I have missed the connection?? 9. The mother flat out mentions it wouldn't have happened if she had been there. 10. The plaque at the very beginning of the movie. Come on, we all know children don't get an engraved seat. How did I miss that? The grieving father at the beginning of the movie looks over at an empty seat with nothing but an engraved memorial plaque with the name of his dead son *at the beginning of the movie*! and we don't do the math. I couldn't believe I missed that, that's so obvious it's hard to call it 'foreshadowing' rather, it's just the ending of the story and I don't even realize it until I see it a second time in the same movie. Nicely done, touché', well done. 11. Serving food. Come on, they were serving food at the beginning of the movie, we go in and see an obviously grieving father looking at the memorial plaque of an empty chair, and he can't speak. Since when do they serve food except at a shiva??? Hello? I missed the obvious, the blatant, again, well done.

I can't think of any other movie, whether murder mystery or otherwise where so many obvious clues are completely missed by the entire audience. In too many movies, the foreshadowing is too blunt, too obvious, gives away too much. In other movies, the foreshadowing is simply falsified, they hint one way but go another. In other words, the foreshadowing is just simply wrong.

Here, all the foreshadowing was legit, pointing to the taking of the young, sending away the mother, showing death notices with the boy, etc etc etc.

I, for one, didn't see any critique of the religious. The same thing could have happened at a ball game, or hiking trip, etc, the boy was coming, had left the water, you can't stop a boy from sneaking away to the pool, it happens every day, and at some point, little boys have to leave their mothers. That's not a religious tale, that's a family tale.

I am thankful for the religious authenticity, they did NOT make the religious look ridiculous as I've seen in other liberal moral plays which actually do try to make them look like idiots. Not here, no. Both parents loved the little boy, no different than any other father or mother. They obviously worried about when and what was the right push out of the nest, something every mommy and daddy do. All fathers have to go to work, this father's job was being the rabbi. Think about how tolerant he actually was with the boy showing so much disinterest. Yes, the father stood his ground, perhaps incorrectly, about the photo. But he also ignored the boy causing havoc in the shul while he taught and prayed etc. Only true love would ignore such, the man loved the boy deeply.

This movie is on my top ten list, and it's number one in the use of foreshadowing. Period.
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5/10
The Seen Gives Rise to The New Unseen
EduCube26 October 2017
In the alternative ending, Menachem was rescued by two friends: a Christian and a Muslim boy who have been ordered to save the new world in the age of Aquarius via the friendship cube code, and to merge consciousness into a singularity. Abraham grows in knowledge by meeting the three as a team and then dies in his sleep as his soul overcomes his life breath.

It's bigger than nature as we know it, it is more significant than entropy as we see it, it is the active principle, and yet it emerges from both the beginning and end of time. If you believe the soul is eternal and renewed beyond death, morality can be hardened variously. Death gives rise to new life. It is both tragedy and hope, and it is both the seen and the unseen.
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3/10
Boring, seemingly anti-religious; there is some compelling acting; but, the plot fails the message.
janschbern13 June 2009
This movie is all "message". Made in an arty, low-budget format - with a albeit, serious motif of dark yellowish colouring, a muddled but stated viewpoint and protagonists asking for empathy.

It does not work. Yet, the movie isn't bad. The problem is that the story aims to manipulate. It entertains somewhat, at times. And the scenes at the Dead Sea are interesting and germane.

There is one performance - that of the suffering mother, wife stereotype of many religious mothers - here, the proverbial loving one of one boy. She seems to have absolutely no other purpose in life - although the boy is not yet in his teens, both parents seem to be well into mid-life. OK, the father is a well-respected, self-involved, evidently righteous rabbi - with a flock of well attending followers who listen and almost never register a word, comment or view. But, who is she? What was she, before she became a mother? As portrayed, she appears to be so much more.

The Rabbi, Assaf Dayan. He looks tired. Very studious, caring, so involved in his religion. Distracted. To a fault.

The son. Cute. A caricature though of a young, impressionable youth who asks many questions but understands few answers. Unfortunately, the acting is too stilted here, so there is an element of "he doesn't seem real". His non-performance is a drag on the overall movie. Not bad. Not good.

Esther the wife is the heart of the film. Her life is bereft of much outward meaning, contact with others, or anything except for running a little household, reading a prayer book, being very tired for some reason, and showing love to her son and husband. Her husband merits much questioning - but, Esther, seems to be in some sort of rapture, at times. Who knows? A question - at the core of the film - or not.

The film is relatively short - so, ennui hasn't much time to settle. The scenes are fairly quick and pointed. Yet, the parts are better than the whole.

The message doesn't ring true. The Hebrew title is "Summer Holiday"; it has been changed to "My Father, My Lord" in English. Why? Such a discrepancy? The English title basically gives it away, if only it had an (!) exclamation mark at the end .... Then, we might hear Tevye the Milkman breaking into his patterned speech of "Why oh Lord did you have to choose we Jews?" "We pray, we do righteous deeds, we are good. Yet, you persist in all this suffering that you heap upon us! Why not choose some other people? For a century or two, might be a good suggestion? Oh Lord!"

There is a side story of a mother bird and two new babies - more underlying meaning here.

Boring prattle.

Change the name of the movie once more to "Oy Vey - Life Can Be Such A .... Life !". Or something more to the point.

Yet, there is something well worth seeing here. So, despite my low rating - for the dumbness of it all - I recommend this movie, but, don't take it much to heart. Gevalt!
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10/10
That little boy is amazing
InLisbon25 February 2014
This is my first review, and maybe my last. I mean who cares what I think? So many people on here think their opinions matter. I have to say this little boy is outstanding. This movie about how we look at nature and each other really broke my heart. The movie is just amazing. This is my first review, and maybe my last. I mean who cares what I think? So many people on here think their opinions matter. I have to say this little boy is outstanding. This movie about how we look at nature and each other really broke my heart. The movie is just amazing. This is my first review, and maybe my last. I mean who cares what I think? So many people on here think their opinions matter. I have to say this little boy is outstanding. This movie about how we look at nature and each other really broke my heart. The movie is just amazing.
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