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Esther Kahn

A distinct disappointment after Desplechin's earlier work, this is an ambitious but misguided adaptation of a novel about a young and wholly unremarkable Jewish girl, emerging from London's East End towards the close of the 19th century to become, through sheer determination, a celebrated actress. The film founders mainly on Desplechin's shaky grasp of English: the dialogue is full of implausible profanity, the director's brother is less than convincing as a theatre critic, while Summer Phoenix, shaky accent, awkward intonation, shallow performance and all, never convinces for a moment, let alone as a triumphant Hedda Gabler. Holm and Barber, and Howard Shore's score briefly counteract the overall clumsiness, but in the end that's nowhere near enough to save a doomed project.

Release details

Duration: 157 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Arnaud Desplechin
Screenwriter: Arnaud Desplechin, Emmanuel Bourdieu
Cast: Summer Phoenix
Ian Holm
Fabrice Desplechin
Frances Barber
László Szabó
Emmanuelle Devos
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