Shalom Life | December 18, 2014

Movie Review: 'Reuniting the Rubins'

The British film tells the story of a grandmother who wants to reunite her family for a Passover seder

By: Ilan Mester

Published: December 12th, 2011 in Culture » Film » Reviews

Movie Review: 'Reuniting the Rubins'

Reuniting the Rubins is one of those movies that aims to be touching and funny all at once. The British film tells the story of a grandmother who tries to bring together her dysfunctional family for a Passover seder.

The movie stars Timothy Spall (who played Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter franchise) as Lenny Rubin, a retired lawyer who’s ready to embark on a fancy cruise. But his vacation is cut short -- in fact, the cruise hadn’t even set sail -- when he learns that his mother (Honor Blackman) is in the hospital.

“I don’t want my family reunited over my dead body,” she tells him, using good old fashioned Jewish guilt.

As a Holocaust survivor, Gran Rubin lost most of her family during the war. “I’ve watched all my family die, Lenny,” she tells her son. “Before I die I want to watch your family live.”

She wants the entire family to come together for a Passover seder. But for that, Lenny has to reunite his four children who are living their lives in very different ways -- in equally different places.

Danny Rubin (Battlestar Galactica’s James Callis) is a successful businessman who seems to be glued to his Bluetooth. His sister, Andie (Rhona Mitra), is an eco-activist who lives in Africa. Their brother Yona (Hugh O’Conor) is a Rabbi who resides in Jerusalem with his family and their other sibling (Asier Newman) is a Buddhist monk.

A good chunk of the film is spent on Lenny tying to convince all of his children to come together for the seder, which needless to say turns into a difficult task.

Both Spall and Blackman deliver solid performances. And the rest of the cast -- which also features Blake Harrison (The Inbetweeners) and Theo Stevenson (Horrid Henry: The Movie) -- are talented as well.

Reuniting the Rubins isn’t the most innovative movie and its storyline is predictable. But it’s a nice first feature film effort from director Yoav Factor.

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