Rated 3.0

Documentarian Joshua Z. Weinstein co-writes and directs this intimate but drab family drama set in Brooklyn’s insulated Orthodox Jewish community. In a story largely based on his own life, newcomer Menashe Lustig stars as the title character, a recently widowed shop clerk who struggles to meet the personal and religious expectations of his family. A consummate loser, Menashe is confronted with his inadequacy at every turn—his boss routinely humiliates him in front of customers and co-workers, his piously contemptuous brother refuses to lend him any more money and he’s not even allowed to host his own wife’s memorial. Compounding these routine humiliations, Menashe’s son has been removed from his home until he remarries, a situation that slowly pushes him towards a breaking point. The Yiddish-language Menashe wants to highlight the universality of thorny family dynamics, but it’s better at highlighting the universality of drearily well-intentioned Sundance drama clichés. D.B.