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Movie Review: Liberty Heights

Story: Writer and Director Barry Levinson (Diner, Tin Men, and Avalon) continues with his homage to his hometown, Baltimore Maryland. Created out of the anger he thought of as anti semitic from a critic who was trashing Dustin Hoffman in Levinson's Sphere, he decided to deal with his Jewishness and being a Jew - and so we have Liberty Heights - a loving memory piece. It is Baltimore, 1954, the Jewish section of Liberty Heights, the beginning of school integration, the stirrings of rock n roll, and the definitive end of vaudeville. This film is a charming piece of nostalgia (mostly) filled with lots of laughs, vignettes, quickly solved problems and a loving family. My movie pal and I were both raised in this time and this kind of environment, as did apparently most of the audience, and we had no trouble identifying with and laughing out loud at the Jewish/gentile jokes and comparisons.

Acting: Everyone is perfectly stereotyped and terrific. All of the gentiles look like something out of The Great Gatsby and the Jewish folk ( even though half are Italian) are right on target. Ben Foster as the younger son is funny, talented and charming. I think we will be seeing much more of him. Adrien Brody (Summer of Sam) is just fine as the older brother. Joe Mantagna and Bebe Neuwirth are perfectly loving parents. The rest of the cast works very well indeed.

Pets: None

Visual Art: Very little. There should have been more art but the period furniture and cars are a plus.

Sappy Factor:5

Quirky Meter: 1

Length: A perfect 2 hours