DVD Review: Let My People Go!

STUDIO: Zeitgeist | DIRECTOR: Mikael Buch | CAST: Nicolas Maury, Carmen Maura, Jean-François Stévenin, Jarkko Niemi
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 6/18/2013 | PRICE: DVD $29.99
BONUSES: production design featurette, set designer commentary
SPECS: NR | 87 min. | Foreign language comedy | 2.35:1 widescreen | stereo | French with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

 

I hereby put my critical reputation on the line: Mikael Buch’s 2011 comedy Let My People Go! is the best French-Jewish comedy about a gay man studying comparative sauna cultures I’ve ever seen! (Shades of Andrew Sarris/Lola Montes?)

Actually, by any criteria, LMPG is a delicious, heartwarming, romantic, laugh-out-loud confection.

Let My People Go! movie scene

Mother Carmen Maura knows best when it comes to son Nicolas Maury in Let My People Go!

Ruben (Nicolas Maury), a French Jew, having moved to Finland for his sauna studies, is now working as a postman and living with a handsome Finn (Jarkko Niemi). An unexpected windfall leads to a domestic dispute and our hero heads home to Paris in time for Passover. There, sexual hijinks collide with Jewish tradition and a dollop of French “knowing.’

The performances couldn’t be better. Maury is a born farceur with a Chaplin-esque demeanor (yes, he’s a bit of a Little Tramp). Almodovar muse Carmen Maura (The Women on the 6th Floor) is superb as his mother, working out under a poster of Golda Meir and dreaming of “Jew-You,” a spray that can turn Gentiles into Jews. All the performers are honest in sentiment and glorious in broad physical comedy.

The visuals capture a picture postcard Finland and, even with a glimpse of the base of the Eiffel tower, avoid Parisian clichés.

Forget the niche marketing– Let My People Go! is a great comedic ride. And at a lean 87 minutes, there isn’t a wasted nanosecond! I’ve giving it five Jewish stars!

 

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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.