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Review: iMordecai – “Perfectly pleasant and enjoyable”

iMordecai is the new film directed by Marvin Samel and it is out in US cinemas in Los Angeles and New York City on 24th February 2023.

A heart-warming movie based on a true story, iMordecai stars Academy Award-nominated and two-time Emmy-winning actor Judd Hirsch (star of the Emmy-winning sitcom Taxi, Ordinary People, Independence Day) as Mordecai Samels and Academy Award-nominated actress Carol Kane (Hester Street) as his wife, Fela, both survivors from Poland, who are now living in Miami. Their son, Marvin (Academy Award-nominated actor Sean Astin, The Lord of the Rings), is an ambitious cigar maker trying to support his own family while still being there for his aging parents. But when Mordecai’s ancient flip phone breaks, he starts to take lessons from Nina (newcomer Azia Dinea Hale), a yong employee of Ultratech. She tutors Mordecai on his new iPhone, opening him up to all kinds of novel experiences and adventures, which makes him feel like a kid again. An uplifting comedy and a love letter to the city of Miami, iMordecai urges us all to live the one life we have to the fullest.

iMordecai is one of those films that holds no surprises but fits like a comfortable shoe. You know what is going to happen but there is something safe and secure about the whole proceedings. This is in large part due to the wonderful performance by Judd Hirsch as Mordecai and the great support from Carol Kane, Sean Astin and Azia Dinea Hale.

The film opens with an animated sequence that takes us through the events surrounding the events of the main character. It felt a little out of place, to be honest, but as the film progresses you discover Mordecai was also an artist, which helped reframe the animated segments.

Hirsch takes a character that is initially frustrating to watch. Stuck in his ways, which can be a pain for all those around him, he has lost touch with his family and also his past. Yet with the access that the new smartphone gives him, he begins to open up and explore his history and latent talents. I had feared that the film would end up being an advert for an iPhone, but thankfully this was not the case. Obviously, it is mentioned a few times, but it does not become the be-all and end-all of the tale. It is more of a catalyst for Mordecai’s growth.

Each character has a small story arc and it often feels quite episodic in nature, which helps show time ticking by. Yet it also results in the feeling that we are missing some important moments. Some longer scenes may have given more impact on some of the more serious moments. It also made me feel like the story could have worked better as a mini-series. This would have helped flesh out some of the minor supporting characters who seem to have history with the main cast, yet we spend very little time with them.

The direction and editing are serviceable and show off Miami quite well, but does not really give a sense of where places are in relation to each other.

Events unfold as you expect, possibly a result of having watched many films, but mainly because the film plays it safe. That’s okay. You need something like that on occasion. I went in with no expectations and did not feel short-changed by the end of it.

iMordecai is a perfectly enjoyable and pleasant way to spend 90 minutes of your time.

The film is out in US cinemas in Los Angeles and New York City on 24th February 2023.

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