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Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: A riveting portrait of the great writer whose stories became the basis of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof. Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness tells the tale of the rebellious genius who created an entirely new literature. Plumbing the depths of a Jewish world locked in crisis and on the cusp of profound change, he captured that world with brilliant humor. Sholem Aleichem was not just a witness to the creation of a new modern Jewish identity, but one of the very men who forged it. (International Film Circuit) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Jul 7, 2011
    100
    It is a rich, beautifully organized and illustrated modern history of Eastern European Jewry examined through the life and work of the author, born Sholem Rabinovich in Pereyaslav (near Kiev) in 1859.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 25, 2011
    88
    Both the man and his times resist a compact 93 minutes. This much anguished history, and Aleichem's inspired literary response to that history, has difficulties being confined to conventional documentary feature length. Yet Dorman's touch is sure, his pacing fleet and his chorus of voices marvelous.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Oct 13, 2011
    80
    He's often called the Yiddish Mark Twain; supposedly Twain, upon hearing this, said to tell Aleichem that Twain was the American Sholem Aleichem.
  4. Reviewed by: Leba Hertz
    Aug 18, 2011
    75
    What makes the movie succeed is that Dorman doesn't only focus on the life of Aleichem (who had a tendency to build fortunes and then lose them), but a look at a society long gone and the legacy and traditions they and Aleichem left to Jews around the world today.
  5. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Aug 25, 2011
    75
    This is a person you'd enjoy spending time with and learning from. That's certainly the case with Dorman's film.
  6. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 24, 2011
    75
    There are many scholars and critics here, most of them useful and pleasant, who obviously love him. Most remarkably, there is his granddaughter, Bel Kaufman, still looking terrific at 100, who had writing in her blood and wrote "Up the Down Staircase."
  7. Reviewed by: Matthew Nestel
    Jul 18, 2011
    60
    The author's texts are used as biographical inventory, and they're not simply read, they're performed, sometimes to the detriment of the prose.

See all 15 Critic Reviews