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A Film Diary

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Watched: 24 November

There’s a positive message behind this film – which is set largely within a Jewish bakery in North London – regarding tolerance towards other people from different backgrounds, but it’s just such a mass of cliches you know exactly where it’s heading after five or ten minutes and it’s hard to sustain much interest thereafter. In short, a young Muslim boy (Jerome Holder), who happens to be dealing cannabis for Ian Hart’s one-dimensional drug pusher, ends up working for an elderly Jewish baker (Jonathan Pryce) who is struggling to fend off the advances of a rival retailer (a poorly written archetypal Cockney Geezer played by Phillip Davis). Naturally before too long the cannabis finds its way into the challah, meaning that the bakery becomes popular with a whole new crowd as word of its magical bread spreads, and thereafter the tone veers erratically, with attempts at both serious British social drama and sitcom missing the mark. Director John Goldschmidt is a veteran of the BBC’s Play For Today series, so it’s not surprising that there’s a stagey feel to much of this film; it seems as if the screenplay was originally intended for a theatre. Sadly even the likes of Pryce, Hart and Pauline Collins (playing an elderly Jewish woman) can’t save the day. (*)

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