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article imageReview: 'Minyan' is a compelling film that puts viewers into a time warp Special

By Markos Papadatos     Aug 30, 2020 in Entertainment
"Minyan," starring Samuel H. Levine, is a compelling film that was adapted from the award-winning short story by filmmaker David Bezmozgis. Digital Journal has the scoop.
Eric Steel has done superb work in its direction and he takes viewers back in time in the late '80s (1986 and 1987), at the time where the gay scene in New York was in the era of the AIDS crisis. Steel highlights the bustling Jewish community in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, with authenticity.
Samuel H. Levine, who portrays the closeted teenage protagonist David, truly carries the majority of the film on his shoulders, and he is the ultimate paradigm of subtle acting at its finest. Ron Rifkin is equally terrific as his widowed grandfather, Josef.
A 17-year-old, David is the son of Russian immigrant parents, and he is an avid reader, however, in his frequent visits to the library, the other men may be partaking in more activities than simply reading.
In this coming-of-age story, he has a romance with a handsome East Village bartender named Bruno (played by Emmy-nominated actor Alex Hurt), with intimate moments following, all while he forms a friendship with an elderly gay Jewish couple at their retirement center, which are perhaps at the wrong end of the strict rules of the Jewish community. Hurt does a solid job playing Bruno and he is a revelation.
David meets Bruno at a bar in Manhattan, who pours him a drink and gives him some ice for a bruise on his face, while he was reading the book Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin, which tends to be a motif in the film.
Levine layers in his emotions well as David since he is wrestling to figure out his sexuality all while trying to have a symbiotic relationship with his conservative Jewish family and community. Without giving too much away, one should definitely be on the look-out for an acting masterclass between Rifkin and Levine towards the film's end.
The Verdict
Overall, Minyan is a revelatory exploration of family, tradition, as well as the occasional need to break free from both. While it may be a slow build, once it progresses, it is quite captivating and remarkable. Samuel H. Levine deserves a standing ovation for his tremendous acting work, and it should catapult him to stardom. Eric Steel tells this story in a sincere and unflinching fashion.
Minyan is rich in symbolism and it is worth checking out from an artistic and cultural standpoint. It has a lot of heart in it and it garners four out of five stars.
More about minyan, Alex Hurt, samuel h levine, Film, Jewish
 
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