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Miriam (PG-13)





Release Date: June 8th, 2007 (Quad Cinema) by Seventh Art Releasing.
The Cast: Ariana Savalas, Eric Axen, Ashlyn Dixon, Dimitri Diatchenko, Nina Franoszek, Peter J. Lucas, Benjamin Maccabee, Olga Vilner, Beata Pozniak.
Directed by Matt Cimber.

BASIC PREMISE: Miriam Shafer (Savalas), a Lithuanian Jew, hides from the Nazis in a Christian family where she gets pregnant and, after the war, moves in with Alexi (Diatchenk), a Soviet KGB agent, while concealing her true identity from him and her daughter, Katy (Vilner). Based on a true story

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Ariana Savalas gives a decent performance as Miriam, a Jew from Lithuania who, in her teenage years, hides from the Nazis as a member of a Christian family. Bijaikis (Diatchenko), the man of the Christian household, rapes and impregnates her. Soon enough, she changes her name to Margritas, the name of his wife who later dies. Some years later, Miriam lives with her teenage daughter, Katy, and Alexi, a KGB agent, neither of whom know about her Jewish background or her real name. Eventually, she struggles to retain her Judaism after the war. The crucial scenes showing Katy and Alexi reacting to her revealed secret feel too contrived when they should have been riveting instead. Co-writer/director Matt Cimber simply doesnít generate any moments that feel real and truly absorbing. He fails to humanize the characters, especially Miriam. Many scenes seem episodic and have an awkwardly-chosen musical score. Also, itís distracting whenever he blends in footage from interviews with the real Miriam Shafer. At a running time of 122 minutes, Miriam overstays its welcome and could have been so much more powerful with a more focused plot with realistic dialogue.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Awkward, stilted and contrived.

NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 9

IN A NUTSHELL: An important true story that doesnít live up to its potential with a contrived, awkward plot and stilted dialogue.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV


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