Hester Street

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Tackling a potentially fascinating and neglected area - Jewish immigrants in end-of-last-century New York - this limits itself to an affectionate and predictable chronicle of the Americanisation of Jake and Gitl. Clarity of emotion at the expense of subtlety, larger than life performances (with the exception of Carol Kane, whose greenhorn wife ends up learning the fastest), confine the film to warmheartedness and gentle, ironic observation at the expense of any real insight. Only towards the end, as the couple split up and remarry, does the film satisfactorily come to terms with a society in a state of flux and its relation to the American Dream: the passing of old customs, self-improvement, ghetto mentality and matriarchy are all touched upon. But an unimaginative camera and misty monochromes do little beyond conveying some self-conscious period recreation.

Release details

Duration: 89 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Joan Micklin Silver
Screenwriter: Joan Micklin Silver
Cast: Steven Keats
Carol Kane
Mel Howard
Dorrie Kavanaugh
Doris Roberts
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