Review: Based on a true story, Marvin Samel’s very personal ‘iMordecai’ boasts compelling performances from Judd Hirsch, Carol Kane, and Sean Astin.

iMordecai

80-year-old Holocaust survivor Mordecai Samel is a man who works with his hands. When his son insists on replacing his taped-covered flip phone with an iPhone, his world opens up to new possibilities. Writer-director Marvin Samel brings his life and that of his family to the big screen with iMordecai. We must first learn from the past to better understand our future. This personal film will capture your heart.

Azia Dinea Hale plays Nina, a young phone tech who gives private lessons to Mordecai. Dealing with an unexpected family secret, Nina pushes onward to assure Mordecai that he can take his future into his hands and heal through experience and art. Hale is as sweet and patient as we need her to be.

Carol Kane is Mordecai’s wife, Fela. This witty, opinionated Polish woman is diagnosed with dementia. Mordecai’s secrets exacerbate her anxiety-ridden personality. Kane is a legend and compelling as ever in this role. We witness her moment-to-moment decisions, sometimes with nothing but a look in her eye. She is fantastic.

Sean Astin is Marvin, Mordecai’s son. Marvin’s confident facade begins to crack under the pressure of his cigar business, Fela’s diagnosis, and unresolved feelings with his father. Astin leaves his heart on the screen. Marvin is a complex person doing his best to keep his head above water. Astin takes each beat with thoughtfulness. It is a carefully crafted character study.

Judd Hirsch plays Mordecai with delicious chutzpah. He is proud, excitable, and dealing with deep seeded trauma. His journey is a reclamation of his youth. Hirsch is a treat to watch. Handpicked by Samel, he is funny, headstrong, and perfectly cast.

The film features beautifully animated sequences illustrating Mordecai’s childhood and hilarious flashback reenactments of his shenanigans as an adult. iModecai embraces the faults, chaos, and growing pains of our families. Samel’s script addresses everything, from intergenerational trauma to ageism, parenting, and embracing our truth. It oozes charm. Stick around for the credits to see footage of Samel’s twin daughters, the real-life Mordecai, and his art. iMordecai is a sentimental ode to survivors, culture, and unconditional love.


IN THEATERS FEBRUARY 10. ON AMAZON & APPLE TV APRIL 11.


When Mordecai, a Holocaust survivor, portrayed by Academy Award Nominee Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans, Ordinary People) is given a new iPhone, an unexpected series of events upends his world. A heartwarming Miami-set comedy based on a true story. Co-starring Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Goonies) and Academy Award Nominee Carol Kane (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Hester Street).

https://www.imordecai.com

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