'Family Law'

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Family Law
Directed by Daniel Burman
IFC First Take, opens December 8 IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

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Unlike his intensely committed and colorful lawyer father, Ariel Perelman (a deadpan Daniel Hendler) is anal, inexpressive, becalmed in a dull job, and unsure of his place in life. Forced to loosen up a little when he snags a lively, beautiful wife he thought was out of his league and becomes a parent, Ariel is further unsettled when his father comes to him with a proposition. On paper, Family Law follows the familiar arc of domestic trouble and redemption. Onscreen, it's a visually puckish, tragicomic celebration of an unassuming man's unsung goodness, which broadens, like Argentine filmmaker Daniel Burman's other movies, into a meditation on secular-Jewish identity in a less-than-tolerant society. Like his equally father-fixated, and equally wonderful, 2003 film Lost Embrace, Burman's beguiling tribute to his Jewish father—or, for all I know, the one he wishes he had—is warm and deep enough to give humanism a good name.

 
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