Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox (2007)

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Documentary filmmaker Sara Lamm explores the life of the mental institute escapee, master soap-maker, and self-proclaimed rabbi whose all-natural soap would become a counter-culture cleaning product sensation and a staple of health food stores everywhere. In 1947 - after emigrating to the United States from Germany in order to escape the Third Reich and fleeing from a mental institution where he was forced to endure electroshock therapy - Dr. Emanuel Bronner finally realized his destiny. An experienced soap maker whose faith in humanity hadn't been shaken by the fact that his parents died in the Holocaust, Dr. Bronner began producing a multi-purpose cleaning product that would bring people together while providing them with tips for living a better live. The labels on Dr. Bronner's Soaps were filled with inspiring prose borrowed largely from Jewish and Christian sources, and his company was one of the first socially conscious organizations to mass produce a popular product. While Dr. Bronner himself may be long gone, his popular soap lives on. For viewers curious to hear the tale of a man who dedicated himself to the betterment of the human race through the use of all-natural cleaning products, this documentary presents Dr. Bronner's stranger-than-fiction story in greater detail than ever before.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 7, 2009
Balcony Releasing - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (10)

A patently nice man, Ralph is a not very compelling figure.

Full Review… | July 27, 2007
Boston Globe
Top Critic

It's like Capturing the Friedmans scrubbed to a happy ending.

Full Review… | July 18, 2007
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

The self-indulgent film also suffers from a lack of focus.

July 14, 2007
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

What emerges is a complex portrait of a man who cares more for humanity than for his own children, often left to languish in orphanages while their father scoured bodies and minds.

July 14, 2007
New York Times
Top Critic

A bittersweet story of a family and the surprising effects a crusading eccentric can have on them.

Full Review… | July 12, 2007
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Although the segments featuring Bronner's son, Ralph, veer uncomfortably toward hagiography, director Sara Lamm balances out the love fest by exploring the dark side of being a soap-hawking prophet and the toll that ALL-ONE-FAITH took on Bronner's family.

Full Review… | July 12, 2007
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox

"Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox" is a moderately interesting documentary about Dr. Emmanuel Bronner who left Europe as the Nazis came to power, leaving behind relatives who died in the Holocaust. In America, he founds a successful company which fulfils the basic requirement for the American dream. That does not satisfy him, as he puts his personal philosophy of Moral ABC's and uniting the world on every bottle of soap he sells.(I had never heard of his soap before but then I am so totally ignorant of most consumer products.) And then there is the small matter of him being confined to a mental hospital which he escapes from in 1947, eventually making his way to Los Angeles.(In a promotional photo, he looks exactly like a stereotypical mad scientist.) Did I mention that he never shuts up, even now that he is dead? Or that he was blind? In the present day, his son Ralph continues to spread the word and the soap, as the company continues on, run by Emmanuel's grandsons, providing bonuses and equitable salaries to all of its employees, despite Emmanuel's ardent anti-Communism.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

What an interesting story! I'm working on a class advertising campaign for this product so we watched this for research. Great to know there are companies out there like this that exist and have flourished!

OMG haha cool man!
Edit: 8-25-12
I am about 30 mins into the movie and I love it already. I want to buy more soap now!

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