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Eliezer and Uriel Shkolnik are both eccentric professors, who have dedicated their lives to their work in Talmudic Studies. The father, Eliezer, is a stubborn purist who fears the establishment and has never been recognized for his work. While his son, Uriel, is an up-and-coming star in the field, who appears to feed on accolades, endlessly seeking recognition. Then one day, the tables turn. When Eliezer learns that he is to be awarded the Israel Prize, the most valuable honor for scholarship in the country, his vanity and desperate need for validation are exposed. His son Uriel, meanwhile, is thrilled to see his father's achievements finally recognized but, in a darkly funny twist, is forced to choose between the advancement of his own career and his father's. Will he sabotage his father's glory? -- (C) Sony Pictures Classics

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Lior Ashkenazi
as Uriel Shkolnik
Alisa Rosen
as Yehudit Shkolnik
Alma Zak
as Dikla Shkolnik
Daniel Markovich
as Josh Shkolnik
Micah Lewensohn
as Yehuda Grossman
Yuval Scharf
as Noa - Newspaper Reporter
Nevo Kimchi
as Yair Fingerhaut
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Critic Reviews for Footnote

All Critics (88) | Top Critics (36)

Audience Reviews for Footnote

  • Sep 30, 2015
    Footnote is a very engaging film with strong acting, storytelling, and cinematography. The culture and setting of Israel are interesting as well and add to the film's depth. The strong negative reviews are surprising, though the film is mislabeled as a 'comedy' when it is a family/political drama. I go the other way and highly recommend it.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • May 07, 2013
    A man who has followed in his father's footsteps in the study of the Talmud give up a prestigious prize for his father's benefit. There are moments in <i>Footnote</i> that resonate with any academic. The satire of the cramped rooms and the highfalutin conversations in academic babble is sharp, biting, and accurate. This also has the distinction of being one of the few films about academe that doesn't include a relationship between a teacher and a student, and for that it deserves applause. Not limited to satirizing the academy, the film is also about fathers and sons and the tough love fathers sometimes bone-headedly think their sons need. This plot is poignant and universal. What bothers me about the film are the ending, where I though we needed more clarity, and the film's misogyny. The women are all either idiots or supporters, and when Eliezer's wife finds out the film's primary secret, her response is merely to support more. The female characters lack any agency in the home or the profession, and while it's true that some sections of academe are miniature boys' clubs, the film doesn't seem to level its satire bullseye at the phallocentrism of the academy. Overall, there's a lot to like about this film, but where it fails, it fails big.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2012
    The father-son relationship was explored on a couple of levels, along with the larger family dynamic and it also managed to weave in a strong thread concerning professional rivalries. The scene in which the son confronts the prize committee was one of the most powerful and revealed all of the son's inner conflicts right there in one very moving scene. And another layer had to do with the exploration of the nature of truth. What is truth? And is fidelity to truth an absolute, or are there other considerations that take precedent? A very thought-provoking film against a backdrop of what could easily have been a dull, dry, pedantic look at academia. The ending left a lot of questions unanswered, but maybe the filmmakers intended the viewer to seek his/her own answers. Brilliant!
    Mark A Super Reviewer
  • Aug 01, 2012
    **** out of **** "Footnote" has nothing to do with the Talmud department of Judaism yet at the same time, everything. It is a father-son relationship dramedy in which both ends of the spectrum have devoted their lives to the Talmud, and we as an audience are not necessarily expected to know what that is. But what we are expected to know is a little something about human nature, because in this department, the film is a triumph of expressing the very humane emotions such as guilt, jealousy, anger, and that crazy thing called love (although not in the romantic sense). It is an uncanny surprise of a movie in its ability to manipulate our expectations and feelings; at once it is funny, but look away and the next moment it might be painfully truthful to our internal sorrows and feelings. This is a movie that deserved bigger nominations at the Academy Awards than it received (since although it technically released in theaters early 2012, it is considered a 2011 film), whilst all it walked away with WAS a nomination, and only one at that. Eliezer Shkolnik (Shlomo Bar Aba) is the father in the relationship. A philologist whose greatest achievement in life is being mentioned in the footnote of a popular book written by a scholarly friend of his; he is stubborn and strange, often retiring to his study wearing noise-canceling earphones to prevent the outside world from interfering with his studies, in regards to the phrasing of the Jerusalem Talmud. He has established a strong work ethic in his son Uriel (Lior Ashkenazi), who is receiving the recognition that his father never got and is perhaps closer to being awarded the Israel Prize (the biggest scholarly honor a man can receive in the country) than he ever was. The rivalry between the father and the son - not conventional of most movie rivalries amongst family members -is established early on and carries out even further into the film when Eliezer receives a call from the assistant to the Minister of Education, telling him that he has been elected to receive the prize. This is where the story starts to get most interesting. To tell the honest truth about the events that unfold throughout the film would be spoiling too much when speaking of most movies, but the back of the DVD "spoils" it so I guess I'm at liberty to as well. The call was really intended for Uriel, and the mistake was a simple one; they went by last names and the phone numbers were similar so they tried one, got the wrong man, although he doesn't know it yet. What follows the mix-up is an ingeniously filmed and edited meeting with the Prize committee, which runs for about fifteen perfect minutes. Uriel wants his father to be happy just once in his life, so he strikes some deals with the committee and here's where it all goes awry. That part of the story I won't "spoil" for you. Joseph Cedar, the writer and director, was intrigued by the Talmud department when he conceived the film for its unforgiving attitude towards the very concept of mistake. "Footnote" is also unforgiving towards this concept, and this word; and the film more or less represents the attitudes present in the department that it is, as I said, all about but at the same time not. In adopting these mannerisms and themes, it is a spectacular character study; the Talmud has greatly affected the lives of both the father and the son. What are we supposed to take from it? That one should never dabble in the areas that the men are so committed to? They are both married, but the relationships they uphold with their wives are either not expounded upon or not important to the general story. Sometimes, their intellectual handicaps are used for comedy and other times for drama. This is why I call it a "dramedy". Perhaps I feel as if my relationships with a few of my "close relatives" are conflicted. I know that the film resonated with me although I can't quite figure out why. God knows I have never had a relationship with my father like the one between Uriel and Eliezer and I don't hope to; maybe it's the idea of having such a deep, remorseless grudge against anyone. We've all had those, but "Footnote" is made for the people who still haven't forgotten (their grudge, and who it was against). It is, simply put; a thinking man's film and I loved it. Some viewers may feel slightly alienated by all the talk of the Talmud department but like I said, the film isn't so much about that. I see it as a relationship drama with a darkly comic twist more than anything, as well as a stimulating study of its characters. This is real good character acting as well. Bar Aba had not starred in a film for 20 years before this one; this is a very solid return-to-form for him, if he ever had a "form" to begin with (I have personally never heard his name mentioned). Ashkenazi is also wonderful as Uriel; bearded, intelligent, understanding, yet impatient. There's also the suggestion that the father is autistic. And it's yet another thing that hits close to home.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer

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