Critics Consensus

Ushpizin offers a rare and warmly intimate look into ultra-Orthodox Jewish culture.



Total Count: 62


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,488
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Movie Info

The insular world of Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem comes to the screen (with their blessings) in this warm comedy drama. Moshe (Shuli Rand) was once a secular Jew, but he rediscovered his faith and became an ultra-Orthodox Jew, and with his wife, Mali (Michal Bat Sheva Rand), he struggles to support their family. With the harvest festival of Sukkot around the corner, Moshe is broke, and asks for help from a yeshiva charitable fund. Moshe is told the fund has been depleted, and he and Mali are left with no options but to pray for a miracle. To their surprise, the next day they're informed some money was found in the fund after all, and they are given 1,000 dollars; Moshe and Mali believe this is the miracle they asked for, and they joyously make plans to build a sukkah, a gazebo-like structure where Orthodox Jews entertain guests and serve their meals. Just as he completes the new sukkah, Moshe is surprised by the unexpected arrival of Eliahu (Shaul Mizrahi) and Yosef (Ilan Gannai), two old friends from his restless days before he embraced his current faith. Imagining the Lord has sent him guests as part of the miracle, Moshe takes in his old pals and tries to make peace with their rambunctious ways, but what he doesn't know is that the two are on the run from the law, having recently escaped from jail. Ushpizin was scripted by leading man Shuli Rand, who is in real life an ultra-Orthodox Jew and demanded a number of conditions before agreeing to participate in the making of the film (such as the producers agreeing to never show the picture on the Sabbath).


Critic Reviews for Ushpizin

All Critics (62) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (58) | Rotten (4)

  • [The film] places a captivating life study in the context of a modern fairy tale.

    Dec 2, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Very light, even saccharine at times, but blessed with enough pure charm to make the syrup go down a treat.

    Dec 2, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • An unexpected delight from an unlikely source, Ushpizin is the first feature film set inside the closed community of Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox Jews.

    Dec 1, 2005 | Rating: B
  • It had me, this film with blessings on its mind.

    Nov 28, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Ushpizin will certainly be manna to people of religious sensibility, but you need not be a believer to appreciate its humor and humanity.

    Nov 23, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Viewers who aren't familiar with Orthodox Jewish culture might have trouble fully relating to this Israeli film. But everyone should be able to appreciate its heartwarming tone.

    Nov 23, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Ushpizin

  • Apr 25, 2008
    Nothing is lost in translation here. You can read every emotion in these actors faces.
    Sunil J Super Reviewer
  • Dec 23, 2007
    The first 9/10ths of this movie were great. But how did an indie flick like this end up with such a Hollywood ending? (And a poorly edited one at that.)
    Ed K Super Reviewer
  • Jun 27, 2007
    A foreign movie about an Orthodox Jewish couple in Jerusalem. It was fascinating and so uplifting, it instantly became one of my favorites!
    Ida K Super Reviewer
  • May 03, 2007
    (Oct 2005 Director: Gidi Dar) This Israeli film won Israeli awards plus International awards!! I loved this film about an Orthodox Jewish couple...the husband had been a former gang leader but turned straight...still having his past trail him. Funny, original, provocative....I loved the emphasis on prayer! Much chuckles! Great fun (along with the pseudo serious)
    Teresa S Super Reviewer

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