“Hilariously funny”, was what I had been told about the film Blumenthal. So, I sat with eager anticipation, waiting for the first scene to roll. A man appears on the screen, Harold Blumenthal, being interviewed about his work as a playwright. My initial thought was “oh, this is a documentary film”, and then, Harold Blumenthal executes a dry joke, bursts into laughter, and the lively opening titles, with its eclectic instrumental music, begin.
Set in New York, Harold Blumenthal’s sudden death (from laughing at his own joke), prompts us to be introduced to the wider Blumenthal family. The Blumenthal family gives us a broad insight into the challenges faced by different generations in modern society. Harold’s nephew, Ethan Blumenthal, a young New Yorker Jew, is fiercely driven by sexual desire, but is struggling to understand his own mind and the concept of monogamy. Ethan’s father, Saul, apparently unaffected by the death of his brother, is troubled with chronic constipation, as he seeks the recognition that he has always lacked, existing in his brother’s shadow. Ethan’s stepmother, Cheryl, desperate to maintain her career as an actress, in an industry shrouded in prejudice against increasing age.
I found this film so easy to watch, with alluring scenes from the streets of New York that leave you with a desire to be amongst them. The personal journeys of the characters were light-hearted and incredibly funny because they touched on predicaments which I could personally relate to (in some instances), or they related to the circumstances of people I know. It would be difficult not to emphasise with at least one of the characters in this film, and get drawn into the wittiness of their storytelling.
‘Blumenthal’ was screened as part of the UK Jewish Film Festival 2013 at Odeon Swiss Cottage, London, on Thursday 31st October 2013.
- UK Jewish Film Festival 2013
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