The Substance of Fire (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Substance of Fire (1996)

The Substance of Fire (1996)

The Substance of Fire




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Substance of Fire Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

In this compelling but grim drama, a German-Jewish boy, deeply traumatized by the slaughter of his family by Nazi's, grows up to become the tyrannical head of a New York publishing company. Despite its sterling reputation, Geldhart Publishing is on the brink of folding, thanks to Issac's darker obsession.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Jon Robin Baitz
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 4, 2003

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Ron Rifkin
as Isaac Geldhart
Sarah Jessica Parker
as Sarah Geldhart
Tony Goldwyn
as Aaron Geldhart
Timothy Hutton
as Martin Geldhart
as Louis Foukold
Elizabeth Franz
as Miss Barzakian
David S. Howard
as Dr. Bernard Kramer
Benjamin Ungar
as Young Isaac Geldhart
Tom McDermott
as Old Printer
George Morfogen
as Otto the Printer
Lee Grant
as Cora Cahn
Andrew Pang
as Mr. Otani Junior
Edmund Ikeda
as Mr. Otani Senior
Gil Bellows
as Val Chenard
Eric Bogosian
as Gene Byck
Gregory Burke
as Young Martin
Adolph Green
as Mr. Musselblatt
William Cain
as Mr. Cox
Alec Mapa
as New Receptionist
Dick Latessa
as Mr. McCormack Senior
Patrick Page
as Mr. McCormack Junior
Kate Forbes
as Rizzoli Book Buyer
Barbara Eda-Young
as Reena Geldhart
Matt McGrath
as Young Book Clerk
Jose Ramon Rosario
as Dennis the Tailor
William Meisle
as Customer with Shoes
Gina Torres
as Maitre D'
Debra Monk
as Martha Hackett
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News & Interviews for The Substance of Fire

Critic Reviews for The Substance of Fire

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (8)

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 27, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 22, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Substance of Fire

Substance of Fire has very little substance or fire. Hutton continued the downward movement of his career while Sarah Jessica Parker hadn't quite gotten the uplift in hers.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


Being based on a stage play, it is no surprise that this film is talky and contains little action. It is less predictable that the story will be so slow moving and its themes so muddled and unclear. The acting is excellent, especially a brilliant performance by Ron Rifkin. It kept my interest by virtue o9f the strong performances but it did not seem to ever get anywhere. At the end you are left in search of any meaning for the entire movie/play -- if you succeed in imposing some meaning on it all, you should be moved by this fine set of performances, if not you are likely to feel it was all a waste of talent for a story that said nothing. I barely found some meaning but not anything very impressive..

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