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Parents' Guide to

The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Comedy about Orthodox Jewish man; cursing, sex, drugs.

Movie NR 2019 90 minutes
The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

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This movie relies on an endearing performance by Basman as Motti, the Jewish boy who doesn't want to say yes to the life set out for him by his religion and community. Viewers unfamiliar with specific Orthodox practices and Yiddishisms will nevertheless be able to relate. Just substitute for the institutional isolation of this Orthodox community equally separatist practices of other groups -- Muslims, Hindus, Mormons and other Christian sects. The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch seems to argue in favor of finding one's own path rather than simply rejecting heritage for no good reason.

On the minus side, the director fails to get past stereotypes of comically-overbearing Jewish mothers. Motti's mother (Inge Maux) actually hides in the bushes to spy on his meeting with an approved "nice Jewish girl." Mom also faints dramatically at the news that her son loves a shiksa, then she regains her strength sufficiently to heave all his clothes out the door. Among the nice touches -- the one person who understands and encourages Motti's adventurousness is a dying wealthy client who reads Motti's tarot cards and approves of his exploration. Moving scenes between the two of them suggest that someone near death's door may have valuable insight into the importance of seizing opportunities as they arise rather than accepting a life laid out for you by your parents.

Movie Details

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