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USA 1983
Directed by
Sidney Lumet
130 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars


As with any story of individual idealism crushed by the juggernaut of mass conformism, Daniel tells a saddening story. Although the script is by E.L.Doctorow from his own novel based on the true story of the children of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed as spies in the anti-Red hysteria of the 1950s.  Here they are called the Isaacsons and the film is the story of how their son Daniel (Timothy Hutton) tries to make sense of his parent’s lives and death after the near-suicide of his hysterical sister Susan (Amanda Plummer), the film weaving back and forth from the 1930s to the present in doing so.

Although Lumet is a director with a strong portfolio of thoughtful and committed films to his name one feels that the production missed the balance between personal drama and historical portrait. Not that that is an easy thing to achieve but the outcome is a like a large tableau seen at too great a distance to appreciate any details and thereby, significance




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