Release Date: June 29th, 2007 (Cinema Village) by Balcony Releasing.
Directed by Sarah Lamm. Sara Lamm.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Dr. Emanuel Bronner, a nephew of Albert Einstein who invented and manufactured a “magic” organic soap with his beliefs, the “Moral ABCs”, printed on its label.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox follows the interesting story of Dr. Emanuel Bronner, a wise, off-beat and charismatic man who always remained a colorful character to document, just like John Peterson in The Real Dirt on Farmer John . After surviving the Holocaust, he came to America preaching his belief that everyone worships the same God along with other beliefs such as “to unite spaceship Earth”. He included these “Moral ABCs” on each of his “magic” soap products, which are made out of natural, organic ingredients. In a strange turn of events, the government considered him to be insane because of his beliefs and sent him to an asylum. He escaped from there and continued his soap business while living with his wife and son, Ralph, who eventually ended up helping in the family business. Director Sarah Lamm interviews Bronner’s family members and includes some lively footage of Dr.Bronner as well. In somewhat redundant scenes that feel like they’re part of an infomercial, consumers express their opinions about the “magic” soap and why they chose to use it—if only there were a hotline flashing at the bottom of the screen to buy the product. Everyone claims that it gives them a tingly, refreshing feeling and that they can even use it to clean their dog, car and teeth. What makes this a truly compelling documentary, though, is that Lamm does a great job of showing different sides of Dr. Bronner, as a passionate business man, philosopher and self-proclaimed rabbi and, to some degree, an unconventional genius.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The basic messages include the importance of everyone believing in the same God, which makes everyone equal. In many ways, Dr.Bronner comes across as not only a pacifist, but a kind man. He may have briefly lost his mind with his ranting and gone to an asylum, but he never lost his love of mankind. It’s quite uplifting and comforting to know that he has passed down his traits to his only son, Ralph, who hugs everyone he meets—while giving them a free sample of the “magic soap”, of course. INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Slightly redundant.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 1
IN A NUTSHELL: Enthralling, insightful and delightfully bizarre, but slightly redundant.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater
The "D" Menu