Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness (2011)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A riveting portrait of the great writer whose stories became the basis of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof. Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness tells the tale of the rebellious genius who created an entirely new literature. Plumbing the depths of a Jewish world locked in crisis and on the cusp of profound change, he captured that world with brilliant humor. Sholem Aleichem was not just a witness to the creation of a new modern Jewish identity, but one of the very men who forged it. --(c) International Film Circuit
Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Alan Rosenberg
as Narrator
Rachel Dratch
as Sheyne Sheyndl/Stepmother
Jason Kravits
as Menachem Mendl
Daniel Lerman
as Motl, the Cantor's Son
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (16)

Not often does a film double as a literary critic, but this is the Northrop Frye of docs. Essentially, it revises and sharpens the blunted reputation of a great writer.

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Audiences interested in Jewish literature will find Laughing in the Darkness compelling for its deep analysis of Aleichem's works, featuring a selection of experts and the writer's granddaughter, Bel Kaufman.

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Toronto Star
Top Critic

[An] absorbing PBS-style documentary.

Full Review… | December 7, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Throughout the film, Dorman uses ethnographic and silent-cinema footage, along with ubiquitous klezmer music, to paint a picture of the era.

Full Review… | October 27, 2011
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

A rich, winning documentary...

Full Review… | October 13, 2011
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

The film adroitly sets the writer's works, his triumphs and tribulations, against the backdrop of a tumultuous period for European Jewry.

Full Review… | September 29, 2011
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness


A very nice documentary about the man who first wrote the stories of "Tevye the Milkman" which became the basis for the musical "Fiddler on the Roof." The documentary can also serve as an invitation to better appreciate the Romantic movement of the time, which helped produce most of the modern nation states of Europe as well as the modern state of Israel. -

Dennis Kriz
Dennis Kriz

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