La Petite Jérusalem (Little Jerusalem)
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La Petite Jérusalem (Little Jerusalem)
An orthodox Jewish teen living with her family in France attempts to balance her religious upbringing with her increasingly complex view of the outside world in director Karin Albou's incisive meditation on religion, philosophy, and the weight of romance on the mind of a growing girl. Eighteen-year-old student Laura (Fanny Valette) lives with her widowed mother (Sonia Tahar), her sister (Elsa Zylberstein), and her brother-in-law (Bruno Todeschini) in the suburban Paris neighborhood of Sarcelles. Though her exposure to the world thus far has been culturally limited due to the fact that her… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"This beautiful tale of two sisters living in Sarcelles, a low-income Parisian suburb of mostly new immigrants, presents the darker side of religion while offering a candid view of an Orthodox Jewish family struggling to stay together."
‑ Marta Barber, Miami Herald
"Rich in perceptive details, Albou's film has drawn favorable comparison to the work of Claire Denis (The Intruder, Friday Night), and both directors share a sensual sensitivity to their characters' inner lives."
‑ Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times
"The film, which means well in its attempt to touch on Kantian philosophy, racial divides, sex and orthodoxy, and secularism versus religion, manages to insult each one of these heavy subjects by not giving any of them the serious, thoughtful attention the"
‑ Jordan Hiller,
"Even though the romance angle disappoints, the story still holds interest because of the jarring cultural differences, even between the Paris-reared daughters and their superstitious Tunisian mother."
‑ Laura Kelly, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"Albou gives a traditional plot a rich sense of detail and a sensitivity to her characters."
‑ Ed Scheid, Boxoffice Magazine
"It is a story told in small moments, the camera close-up on a look, the stroke of a hand, the way a blonde thread is revealed in a husband's jacket."
‑ Susan Walker, Toronto Star
"The grand ideas are effectively integrated into a drama that relies equally upon the head, the heart and the body for inspiration."
‑ Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times
"The background of Little Jerusalem is a grimy landscape, both physical and political, and it overwhelms the fragile exploration undertaken by the sisters. Or maybe that's the whole point."
‑ Liz Braun, Jam! Movies
"The best reason to watch La Petite Jerusalem is Fanny Valette, a bona-fide beauty who brings a commitment and gravity to scenes that don't always deserve them."
‑ Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International
"Anyone shopping by the ton for melodrama is well advised to browse the ample display on view in this cinematic square."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"It's very well-acted and directed, shot with great vigor, mostly in roaming closeups that plunge us right into the thick of things."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"Albou is adventurous in intermixing a young woman's coming-of-age with a search for secular belief but her story is a bit shy on drama."
‑ Jules Brenner, Cinema Signals
"Beautifully played by Valette and Zylberstein, and directed with amazing grace by Albou, this touching film offers a respectful, fascinating look at a community that's ignored as often as it's misunderstood."
‑ Ken Fox, TV Guide's Movie Guide
More reviews for La Petite Jérusalem (Little Jerusalem) on Rotten Tomatoes