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Dough (A Movie Review)

Updated: Mar 26, 2020



DOUGH (2015)

Starring Jonathan Pryce, Jerome Holder, Ian Hart, Philip Davis, Pauline Collins, Natasha Gordon, Malachi Kirby, Daniel Caltagirone, Andrew Ellis, Matt Devere, Daniel Ben Zenou, Joel Beckett, Paul Blackwell, Ben Bishop, John Voce, Deborah Sheridan-Taylor and Melanie Freeman.

Screenplay by Yehuda Jez Freedman and Jonathan Benson.

Directed by John Goldschmidt.

Distributed by Menemsha Films.  94 minutes.  Not Rated.

The poster for Dough certainly doesn’t do the movie justice, bringing to mind the kind of goofy stoner movie that Method Man, Anna Faris, Harland Williams, Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Adrien Brody might make, in which a bunch of people get wasted and… uhhh… well get the munchies.  They also get massively paranoid.  And they fall down and laugh a lot.  Something funny must happen, but do you have to be high to get it?

Dough is a much more subtle, thoughtful movie than that.  Yes, it does have a garnish of marijuana, but there is a whole hell of a lot more going on here than the poster leads us to believe.  Not all of the parts of the movie work, but at least there many smart ideas and intriguing characters to make the movie go down easy.

It just has a bit of a high concept.  (Yes, I went there.)

Dough is not even exactly a comedy, though there is much that is funny that goes on here.  It’s more of a light ensemble drama with some very dark patches.  Human relationships and religious and racial tolerance end up getting more screen time than the cannabis.  And that’s okay.

Nat Dayan (played by the always wonderful Jonathan Pryce) is an aging Jewish baker, a widower who is stuck in a huge rut.  He owns the same bakery that his father and grandfather worked at, getting up every morning at 4:00 to bake for a neighborhood which has been changing for years.  Most of his clientele is dying or moving from this depressed neighborhood, and Nat dreads going in to work almost as much as he obsesses about keeping it open.  Not only has his clientele has been steadily declining, but a local chain store just moved in next door.

His life changes when he hires a new apprentice, an Muslim, African refugee named Ayyash (Jerome Holder).  The two men do not get on for a while, falling back on ingrained stereotypes, but eventually become friends.  Nat does not realize though that Ayyash is also working as a pot dealer.  One day, Ayyash mistakenly drops his stash in the dough, causing a sudden sharp uptick of business for the old bakery.

Okay, it’s kind of a silly premise, but it serves its purpose.  Through this new popularity, Nat breaks out of his rut and both guys start seeing beyond religious biases to really get to know and appreciate the other’s lot in life.

In the end, Dough gets a little bit overcooked, but for the most part it’s a sweet and charming little comic drama.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2016 All rights reserved. Posted: April 29, 2016.

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