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To Dust (2018)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 22 April 2018 (USA)
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Shmuel, a Hasidic cantor in upstate New York, distraught by the untimely death of his wife, struggles to find religious solace, while secretly obsessing over how her body will decay.

Director:

Shawn Snyder
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Géza Röhrig ... Shmuel
Matthew Broderick ... Albert
Sammy Voit ... Naftali
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sarah Jes Austell ... Lab Receptionist
Natalie Carter ... Security Guard
Bern Cohen ... Reb Goshen
Linda Frieser ... Wake Goer
Ben Hammer ... Rebbe
Leo Heller ... Noam
Marceline Hugot ... Carol
Andrew Keenan-Bolger ... Doctor
Stephanie Kurtzuba ... Receptionist
Jill Marie Lawrence Jill Marie Lawrence ... Judy
Larry Owens ... Stanley
Isabelle Phillips ... Shprintzel
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Storyline

Shmuel, a Hasidic cantor in Upstate New York, distraught by the untimely death of his wife, struggles to find religious solace, while secretly obsessing over how her body will decay. As a clandestine partnership develops with Albert, a local community college biology professor, the two embark on a darkly comic and increasingly literal undertaking into the underworld. Written by Shawn Snyder

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jew | See All (1) »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 April 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Porrá See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,496, 10 February 2019, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$184,495, 25 April 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scenes for the Community College were filmed at the City University of New York's College of Staten Island. See more »

Soundtracks

Aqualung
Written by Ian Anderson and Jennie Franks
Performed by Jethro Tull
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User Reviews

 
Dark (if not black) Jewish comedy is uneven but at times brilliant
16 March 2019 | by paul-allaerSee all my reviews

"To Dust" (2018 release; 91 min.) brings the story of Shmuel, an Orthodox Jew. As the movie opens, Shmuel is at the hospital, where his wife just has passed away unexpectedly. Shmuel is bewildered and in deep grief. At night he has nightmares about what becomes of the body of his wife. He becomes obsessed with that, and by accident befriend Albert, a science professor at the local community college. Albert explains to Shmuel what becomes of a person's decaying body by showing the analogy of a decaying pig's body... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is one weird little movie. What starts out as a movie about grieving for a lost loved one, gradually evolves into something different altogether: a dark, if not black, comedy about decaying bodies, both of the human and of the animal kind, yeah... While the initial third of the movie is mostly so(m)ber and even macabre, the last hour is at times laugh-out-loud funny. The biggest surprise for me was the outstanding and all around charming performance from Matthew Broderick as the community college science professor who unexpectedly (but not unwillingly) becomes tangled up in the life of the grieving Orthodox Jew, leading to situations he probably never imagined possible. In that sense, the movie is a bizarre "buddy movie", pairing the Orthodox Jew to this divorced college professor. Check out the scenes as they go on the road to Knoxville, TN to check out a "body farm" (yea, it's kinda like that level of weirdness). Frankly, I'm amazed this movie even got made (and surely the fact that Broderick stars was the deciding factor in that). This little movie is way out there, and surely not for everyone. In the end, I found it uneven but at times brilliant.

"To Dust" premiered at last year's Tribeca film festival (yes, a year ago) and showed up out of the blue in the theater this weekend. I just had to check it out. The Friday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended by exactly 10 people, myself included, of which 2 couples left after about 20 min. and didn't return... If you are in the mood for a dark Jewish comedy that is "out there", I'd readily suggest you give this a chance, be it at the theater (not very likely), on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.


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