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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Emotional Arithmetic

Based on a novel by Matt Cohen of the same name,Emotional Arithmetic is about three people who developed a life-long bond while housed in a camp during the Holocaust.

Written by Shalini Langer |
March 5, 2009 5:31:22 pm

CAST: Susan Sarandon,Christopher Plummer,Max von Sydow,Gabriel Byrne

DIRECTOR: Paolo Barzman

Based on a novel by Matt Cohen of the same name,Emotional Arithmetic is about three people who developed a life-long bond while housed in a camp during the Holocaust. It’s really not about the Holocaust at all,but about how it comes to colour the lives of the three,and of the people around them.

While a tragedy always affects lives,perhaps it’s hard to imagine what a tragedy of this magnitude would do. As the husband of one of them asks,“Will anything that happens to anybody else ever match up to it?”

But if there is the guilt of the survivor,there is also the burden of the survivor. “Why me?” asks one of them. “Why were we saved?”

What seems like a strange title at first suddenly makes sense. At the end of the day,among the highs and lows,life is about finding that emotional balance.

Whether it’s Jakob Bronski (Sydow),who helped chronicle some of the history of the Holocaust and the Gulag,to great personal risk; Christopher (Byrne),who survived it with the memory of the love he found there; or Melanie (Sarandon),the woman he loved and lost,they all find that balance.

While these are all good performances,it’s Plummer as Melanie’s husband who will always be the outsider looking into that charmed circle,without affording to complain – “How could I be that heartless?” – Who is the best.

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