A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Politics is a game of influence, favors, and who you know, rather than serving constituents. Viewers may feel disillusioned by the political maneuvering, which has little to do with integrity or ethics.
Positive Role Models
Norman and Micha both lie when it serves their purposes and tell others what they want to hear. Sometimes it works out the way they hope, other times they face serious (and ultimately, in one case, fatal) consequences.
Violence & Scariness
In one scene, a man angered by Norman's schemes pushes him into a pile of garbage bags. A character commits suicide (off screen); the movie implies that this is a tragic yet fitting end for him.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief discussion of one character's romantic preferences.
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Multiple uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bulls--t," "goddammit."
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Products & Purchases
Logos briefly shown on screen include Starbucks and Vita brand pickled herring. A pair of luxury Lanvin shoes plays a significant part in the story; the store and shoes are shown prominently/at length.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink beer and wine at parties; no one acts drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Norman is a drama about a man (played by Richard Gere) who tries to succeed at business by getting influential people on his side. It's long, very talky, and deals with mature subject matter that's unlikely to interest younger viewers -- unless they're passionate about ethical dilemmas and politics. A suicide takes place off screen; the movie implies that it's a fitting end for the character. Swearing isn't constant but includes multiple uses of the words "f--k," "s--t," "bulls--t," and "goddammit." In a brief scene, an angry man pushes another man into a pile of garbage bags while berating him. Adults drink beer and wine at parties (no one acts drunk), and the movie's plot is set into motion by the purchase of a brand of very expensive designer shoes (the designer's store, wares, and logo are shown at length). Political influence can be bought in this movie, and success is largely a matter of calling in favors from people who owe you something, an idea that may disillusion some viewers. And while the main character shows perseverance, he's not someone you'd consider a positive role model. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.