Parents' Guide to

Norman

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Downfall of a would-be deal maker in talky, mature drama.

Movie R 2017 118 minutes
Norman Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

Boring.

Husband likes Richard Gere but he thought this movie was boring with no plot, no action, not worth watching. I watched it also and totally agree it was slow. BORING!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Norman Oppenhemier tries to be a human LinkedIn, but ultimately his reach exceeds his grasp in this sophisticated, suspenseful, yet slightly overlong film. Writer/director Joseph Cedar is essentially riffing on the ancient tale of the "Court Jew," wherein a Jewish man meets another man as he's rising to power, gains influence through a gift or favor, and becomes integral to the powerful man's court. Eventually, however, the Court Jew angers others with his influence, and the powerful man heaves him to the curb with no compunction. That's pretty much the story here, with Norman as the Court Jew who gains Eshel's ear by buying him a pair of pricey shoes when he's just a minor political figure. Soon enough, Norman can call the prime minister of Israel his buddy -- Norman even has Eshel's private number! -- and he's the toast of New York, with every Jewish and Israeli official in sight offering a business card and an alliance.

But Eshel's friendship, if that's what you can call it, has its limitations, and so does Norman's power. Norman is hoping to strike it rich by essentially selling off part of Israel's national debt, a scheme built on top of a shaky structure of favors. If it all works out, Norman makes money, Rabbi Blumenthal's congregation gets a needed infusion of cash to buy the temple's building, Philip marries his fiancee with Rabbi Blumenthal presiding, and Eshel is praised as the greatest prime minister in history. But as you've probably guessed, it doesn't all work out -- and, as the bricks begin to tumble, it's up to Norman to figure a way out of the international catastrophe. Norman isn't exactly a great man, or really even a good man. But thanks to this sympathetic portrait, he's a man we understand, a man whose biggest dream is to matter somehow.

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