Movie #5: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Length: 107 minutes

Rating: PG-13 for language and some sexuality

Plot: Doctor Judah Rosenthal is a successful man – he has a good family and a respectable and profitable career. However, he is trapped in an ongoing affair with Dolores. When she gives him an ultimatum – marriage or full disclosure – he is faced with a crisis: He can do the right thing and come clean, risking his “perfect” life, or he can bury his dark secret in murder and go on living as if everything were normal.

Meanwhile, filmmaker Cliff Stern, whose marriage is also on the rocks, is forced into directing a film that goes against his artistic sensibilities. While his marriage and career are falling apart, he begins to pursue Halley Reed, a film producer. Both men face desperation but address their problems in very different ways – with strikingly different results.


Discussion Starter Questions:

v  How do the two main characters in the film view life? How does a person’s view of life affect his or her actions?

v  What different views concerning morality are offered in this film? Do they reflect our culture’s views on the subject? Why or why not?

v  Is it ever possible to really escape from our problems? Do you think Judah was able to escape? Why or why not?

v  Is justice something we should expect in this life? How should we respond to injustice in the world?

v  Do you think moral values are objective or subjective? Why?

v  What are the major moral dilemmas that people face today? How should we respond to them?

-          From the book, Field Guide to Neighborhood Outreach by Group Publishing, 2007.

A couple of weeks ago, we featured the outreach idea of having a Movie Night with your neighbors. Over the next few weeks, we’ll provide several more tips and movie choice ideas you might like to choose from for your party. Or, you might wish to host several Movie Nights for your neighbors over the course of our long Wisconsin winter in order to incorporate all of these films. Whatever you choose, have fun! – Lisa Jaeger