Among its many subtle virtues, this all-Yiddish indie, shot on location in the Orthodox community of Brooklyn’s Borough Park, offers a textbook definition of that unluckiest of persons: the schlimazel. If the title character (Menashe Lustig, making a sensitive debut), a middle-aged grocery clerk, leaves his van’s back door ajar, a small fortune of fish will tumble out. If he leaves the oven unattended, his kugel will go up in smoke. Bad things happen to Menashe.
The worst of his tragedies: He’s recently widowed, leaving the fate of his teenage son (Ruben Niborski) in question. The plot is a touch obvious, but 'Menashe' still plays like a more culturally specific 'Kramer vs. Kramer', setting up a testy, fascinating dynamic between micromanaging rabbis and a naturally warm dad with wisdom of his own.