The Tollbooth

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Comedy, USA, 2004, 85 min.

Synopsis The Tollbooth comically explores a Jewish family from Brooklyn through the eyes of Sarabeth Cohen (Sokoloff) - a struggling painter in her first year out of art school. Sarabeth and her older sisters Becky (Stauber) and Raquel (Menzel) come of age and question the values of their traditional parents.

Sarabeth’s first revolutionary act is scoring a job as a waitress and moving across the river to Manhattan. Even though she is less than ten miles from her parents, and her bedroom is her sister’s walk-in closet, she feels like a pioneer - ready to take on the New York art community, and maybe even the world.

Though she would like to rebel, she is forced instead to learn from her family; Ruthie (Feldshuh)--her well-meaning but traditional-and-loud-about-it mother, Isaac (Guttman)--her holocaust-obsessed philosopher-quoting father, Becky (Stauber)--her lesbian medical-student sister, Raquel (Menzel)--her nurturing self-sacrificing sister and Howie (Bartok)--Raquel’s sweet but always misguided husband. She also learns some tough lessons from Simon (McElhenney)--her boyfriend from art school, who graduates and chooses the suburbs, a good job and an entertainment center over a life filled with uncertainty in New York City.

All the characters have a variety of difficult choices to make. The question is never whether or not to compromise, but how much -- before one loses the very essence of one's self. Isaac quotes Tevye by warning his family that "if you bend me too far, I might break;" as Ruthie administers the advice that when making decisions, "the choice that makes you less sick to your stomach is usually the right one."

This honest and funny story follows the characters through one poignant and pivotal year as the family learns, rebels, fights and finally embraces their differences in this highly entertaining ensemble film.

Directed by Debra Kirschner  

Starring Marla Sokoloff, Tovah Feldshuh, Ronald Guttman, Idina Menzel, Liz Stauber, more...

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