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Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox (2007)



Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 1,457

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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 Bonner finally realized his destiny. An


Documentary, Special Interest

Jul 7, 2009

Balcony Releasing - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (16) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (2) | DVD (1)

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

July 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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It's like Capturing the Friedmans scrubbed to a happy ending.

July 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
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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
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The self-indulgent film also suffers from a lack of focus.

July 14, 2007
Hollywood Reporter
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A bittersweet story of a family and the surprising effects a crusading eccentric can have on them.

July 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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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.

July 12, 2007 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
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Swirl together hemp, peppermint, vitamin E and a huge dollop of weirdness, and you have one of the most strangely brewed documentaries in years.

October 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A movie that means well and does no harm, only good. So there should be an audience for this mild, friendly little effort.

July 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

You know there's a story behind Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap, and filmmaker Sara Lamm hopes you're interested in hearing it. Luckily the story behind the suds is a pretty good one.

June 29, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The documentary leaves you feeling hopeful and tingly all over.

June 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

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.
May 5, 2010
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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