Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Does what the best movies can do: take viewers to what might be unfamiliar places, into a culture with unique customs and traditions, and show, through drama and comedy, how the fundamental truths of the human experience need no translation.
  2. The unusual intimacy and authenticity can't be faked: The cast is peppered with nonprofessionals, most notably Michal Bat Sheva Rand.
  3. Jew or Gentile, a good story well told is a thing to be cherished.
  4. 83
    In addition to providing a fascinating, agenda-free look at an unseen way of life, the film presents a lesson that should be welcome among people of any faith or none at all.
  5. 78
    The Israeli comedy Ushpizin begins something like Guy Ritchie's "Snatch" and ends like the Coen brothers' "Raising Arizona" – in between it's a wholly original movie.
  6. 75
    On paper, Ushpizin (Aramaic for "holy guests") looks like a hard sell. It works, however, thanks to a witty script and believable performances from real-life husband and wife.
  7. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    There's little difference between this joyful holiday film and the standard-issue yuletide-miracle movie, except that the holiday isn't Christmas.
  8. Gentle and affecting, it offers an introduction to a mostly unfamiliar world while touching on issues recognizable to all.
  9. The new Israeli movie Ushpizin, a film about man's clumsiness and God's grace, is a touching and amusing tale that expands our horizon and also should open our hearts.
  10. 75
    Ushpizin may not turn out to be as popular as Miracle on 34th Street, but if you believe that miracles can happen, it is a perfect outing during the holidays.
  11. You need not be a believer to appreciate its humor and humanity.
  12. Ushpizin takes us to a fascinating place, and hands out the sort of brochure that tourists always need but seldom get -- the charming kind, fun to ponder and rewarding to browse.
  13. Stylistically Ushpizin belongs to a classic tradition of raucous Yiddish comedy that is easy to enjoy if taken lightly. At the same time, it sustains a double vision of ultra-Orthodox life.
  14. 70
    As directed by Gidi Dar, Ushpizin has a disarming folk quality.
  15. In the charming comedy-parable Ushpizin, religious orthodoxy inspires not unbending dogma but humble, sometimes baffled spiritual striving by its embraceable, flawed characters.
  16. 70
    A warm, conciliatory entertainment.
  17. A gently humorous fable about the power of faith and the possibility of change, Ushpizin not only takes place in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, it was filmed with that media-shy group's cooperation and followed religious law at all times.
  18. The ability of faith to reintegrate a damaged personality is one theme here, although the film doesn't strive for psychological realism; in its heartfelt embrace of religion as ethical path, it owes more to the bygone Yiddish drama than to psychodrama.
  19. 70
    A charming comedy with a philosophical undercurrent that provides a fascinating glimpse of Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox Jews, who live in a realm almost literally sealed off from outsiders. But the most remarkable thing about the film is that it exists at all.
  20. The picture has enough good feeling and chuckle to take it out of the parochial.
  21. A good-hearted movie aimed at Orthodox Jews who don't normally go to the movies.
  22. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    An enjoyable seriocomic tale of a poor couple whose holiday-time miracle becomes a test of faith.
  23. 60
    Ushpizin's effortlessly authentic depiction of Jewish orthodoxy--and the palpable, almost ecstatic sense of joy its characters take in it--ultimately tips the film's hand.
  24. 60
    Most revelatory here is Malli, who defies the stereotype of submission and subservience and emerges as a woman of self-possession and substance. (The earthily beautiful Bat-Sheva Rand infuses the character with a generous dollop of her own zaftig sensuality.)
  25. Reviewed by: David Hughes
    A flawed but fascinating (and frequently funny) insight into a culture seldom explored on film from an insider's point of view.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. ChadS.
    Sep 5, 2006
    The filmmaker's unwillingness to go all the way like Michael Haneke's "Funny Games" in dealing with the volatility of unwelcome The filmmaker's unwillingness to go all the way like Michael Haneke's "Funny Games" in dealing with the volatility of unwelcome guests within a pacific household hampers, but doesn't do irrevocable harm to a very unique film-going(or DVD-watching) experience. These two uncouth friends from the protagonist's past are genuinely menacing, so when the inevitable is circumvented by a collective change of heart in their attitudes towards Jewish Orthodoxy; "Ushpizin" ceases to be a real film and more like a promotion of religious ideology, the Hebrew equivalent to Christian films like "Left Behind". For the sake of religious tolerance, however, "Ushpizin" should be seen, even though it fritters away some very uncomfortable moments between the sanctified and the heathens at dinner-time. But really, only a certain Aussie would want this film to end like "Funny Games". Full Review »
  2. JoeS.
    May 14, 2006
    This movie was superb. A most remarkable portrayal of the inherent beauty of faith.
  3. SylviaS.
    May 5, 2006
    I loved this film. I laughed, and cried, and was lifted up by the love at the heart of this movie. The acting of Shuli Rand and his real-life I loved this film. I laughed, and cried, and was lifted up by the love at the heart of this movie. The acting of Shuli Rand and his real-life wife, Bat-Sheva is superb. The film does a fine job of shedding light on the hasidic community about which there is so much misunderstanding. Full Review »