Life & Culture

The JC Awards 2022: Films A father’s last days make a case for change

Our film critic welcomes the movie industry’s return to normality — but what caught her eye?


(from left) Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) and Bobby (Billy Eichner) in Bros, co-written, produced and directed by Nicholas Stoller.

While 2021 felt like a never-ending stop-and-start merry-go-round for the film industry due to the continuing Covid crisis, this year finally saw a return to form with the release of a record amount of productions. As the year comes to a close, here are just some of the Jewish-themed films and performances that were a cut above the rest.

Best Documentary by a Jewish Filmmaker:
Ondi Timoner, Last Flight Home
Two-time recipient of the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for her documentary features Dig in 2004 and We Live in Public in 2009, Ondi Timoner managed to outdo herself with an extraordinarily personal project.

Filmed in 2021, Last Flight Home documents her father’s last days going through the process of assisted suicide — which is legal in California. Of course the subject matter might not be for the faint of heart, but if you can cope with honesty and intimacy, Timoner’s film feels like the most honest representation of love within a very Jewish family, and also provides powerful advocacy for those people who wish to die with dignity to have their demands met.

An important piece of work.

Best Central Performance by A Jewish Actor:
Timothée Chalamet, Bones and All
New York-born Chalamet finally proves his doubters wrong as he puts in one of the best performances of his young career in Italian director Luca Guadagnino’s latest film.

Chalamet plays Lee, a young man consumed by love and less predictably an insatiable hunger for human flesh in this gorgeous adaptation of Camille DeAngelis’s novel by the same name. The actor might have missed out on the biggest accolades so far, but Bones and All is sure to cement him as a credible character actor in the eyes of all those who have remained immune to his charms thus far.

Most Accurate Representation of an Orthodox Jewish Community:
He might not have grown up in the kind of Orthodox community he depicts in his film, but Minyan’s director Eric Steel managed to give us one of the most accurate representations of the year. Set in the Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn, New York, the film tells the story of a young gay man from a strict Orthodox family struggling to come to terms with his own identity.

Best Supporting Performance By A Jewish Actor:
Adrien Brody, Blonde
This controversial Marilyn Monroe biopic from director Andrew Dominik divided audiences and critics alike, but one thing nobody could disagree on is Adrien Brody’s note-perfect depiction of playwright Arthur Miller. Playing one of the few sympathetic male characters in the film, Brody delivers a real tour de force as he schools us once again in the art of understated delivery.

Best Central Performance By A Jewish Actress:
Isabelle Fuhrman, The Novice
Jewish American actor Isabelle Fuhrman was one of the biggest revelations of 2022 thanks to a magnificent turn in this impressive debut feature from director Lauren Hadaway.

In it, the star of the creepy cult horror film Orphan shines as an obsessive freshman who joins her university’s rowing team and pushes herself to the limit to gain acceptance from her trainer and teammates. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Best Supporting Performance By A Jewish Actress:
Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All At Once
This award goes to the fantastically out there performance by Jamie Lee Curtis (daughter of the Jewish Tony Curtis) as a dour IRS employee in Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s bonkers absurdist comedy Everything Everywhere All At Once.

While the film continues to make waves, amassing award nominations left, right and centre, I don’t think I will ever get the image of Lee Curtis’s remarkable transformation into a brash bureaucrat with a sizeable pot belly out of my head.

Best Comedy of the Year:
New York-born comedian Billy Eichner wrote and starred in one of the funniest and most unapologetically raunchy comedies of the year.

Produced by the reigning king of relatable comedy, Jud Apatow, Bros was directed and co-written by Nick Stoller. Eichner played neurotic podcaster and nice Jewish boy Bobby Lieber, who embarks on a relationship with lawyer Aaron.

Granted, Eichner’s film didn’t make a huge impression on the box office, but as a mainstream gay romcom, Bros remains groundbreaking.

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