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Norman (2016)

Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (original title)
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In theaters April 14.

Norman Oppenheimer is a small time operator who befriends a young politician at a low point in his life. Three years later, when the politician becomes an influential world leader, Norman's life dramatically changes for better and worse.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Norman Oppenheimer
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Eshel
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Alex
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Lior Keshet
Yehuda Almagor ...
Duby
Caitlin O'Connell ...
Sister Agnes
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Srul Katz
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Jo Wilf
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Taub's Assistant
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Marty Schiff
...
Luis Pascual
Maryann Urbano ...
Barbara Klein
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Storyline

Norman Oppenheimer is a small time operator who befriends a young politician at a low point in his life. Three years later, when the politician becomes an influential world leader, Norman's life dramatically changes for better and worse.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language
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Details

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Release Date:

14 April 2017 (USA)  »

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Norman  »

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Trivia

First English-speaking feature film of writer-director Joseph Cedar. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tragic for sure, but with a light touch
14 March 2017 | by (Israel) – See all my reviews

In drama the word "tragedy" has a meaning that is more specific than just "bad things happening." It refers to the way a powerful figure is brought to a complete downfall by an inherent aspect of the same power within him that raised him up in the first place. Arthur Miller set about in Death of a Salesmen to show that plain folks can, and perhaps often do, have lives just as tragic as those of ancient kings. Joseph Cedar has the same idea in Norman, and my wife called it a "heavy" movie, but I wouldn't entirely agree. The audience is prevented from becoming too emotionally invested in the tragedy because, first and foremost, casting Richard Gere as a hapless Jewish luftmensch (a person whose source of livelihood is deals, not products) creates a sort of insulation between the actor and the part regardless of how well he plays it. So does casting Steve Buscemi as a rabbi. The music, which is excellent, often implies a comical perspective. And there are satirical touches of mild exaggeration, with some of the scenes playing out like comedy skits. In fact, the production seems for the most part to take place on the scale of a TV movie. There aren't many incidental characters or details widening the scope and enhancing the realism of it, and what seems less than important can turn out to be perfectly, maybe even predictably important later (which, in a tragedy, may not be an imperfection).

The film is a joint US-Israeli production, but for nice recent Israeli cityscapes and landscapes you'll have to turn to other good recent Israeli movies (and there are many). In this one, unless I missed something, all we see of Israel is the inside of the Parliament (the real hall, used with permission). Maybe one reason Israeli audiences would find the film "heavy" is that they watch with fear that the plot will reflect badly on our politics. But it doesn't indulge in any particularly mean-spirited portrayals, and Richard Gere himself probably did more damage by coming to Israel for the premiere and patronizing the government with a political dose of California dreaming.


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