The Tollbooth



IMDb Rating 5.7 10 148

Plot summary

October 10, 2022 at 12:56 PM


Debra Kirschner

Top cast

Rob McElhenney as Simon Stanton
Marla Sokoloff as Sarabeth Cohen
Idina Menzel as Raquel Cohen-Flaxman
Vanessa Ferlito as Gina
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
770.97 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 23 min
P/S ...
1.4 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 23 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by noralee 8 / 10

An Endearing Take on the Struggles of Leaving Brooklyn for Manhattan

Debut writer/director Debra Kirschner manages to steer clear of the clichés she is driving towards in "The Tollbooth" to create an endearing film.

The speed trap she has set up is the oft-told tale of the college senior graduating into Manhattan from bus and tunnel outskirts (hence the title, reinforced with many shots of bridges) for romance and to make it as an artist. But rather than another update of "La Boheme", we see a more realistic portrait of a young woman with close ties to her loving, religious Jewish family, and struggling with her feminism and day jobs to balance her muse, ambition and love life.

One of its charms is its fond understanding that she is young and immature, and that even though her parents have to bend, she also doesn't have all the right answers. No one here is an overnight success, let alone sure of themselves. And the apartments are believably small (so I was concerned they were breathing in all that paint in close quarters).

Marla Sokoloff is adorable and heart-tugging as the central "Sarabeth Cohen" in a much more substantive role than we've seen her in television shows where she's been able to shine in only small but memorable parts.

She has a wonderful rapport with a winning Rob McElhenney, who reins in the goofiness exhibited in his sit com "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", for a whole lot of charm and gentile boyfriend credibility as engineer "Simon Stanton". There's a wonderful scene where we can tell he's in the room just from an extended focus on her face. Unfortunately, his Pennsylvania relatives are portrayed a bit unfairly as stereotype little boxes suburbanites with more than a little anti-Semitism. There is a nice, sensitive twist in one scene as "Sarabeth" tries to fit in with them.

The intense central family is very warmly and for the most part realistically portrayed, as we see them through a year of Jewish holidays; the family is comfortably non-Orthodox observant Jewish and their observances are portrayed accurately. Though Tovah Feldshuh's mother is a broad portrayal and seems more like a grandmother than mother, it sets the stage for how the adult sisters fall into their childhood relationships, repeating Talmudic-like discussions and arguments when they are home - "the smart one" med student (Liz Stauber), the pregnant, nurturing, eager to please middle child (Idina Menzel), and the baby creative girl.

While there's always universality to leaving the nest, these folks and some of their rhetorical arguments seem a bit out-dated, more like boomers, as if some contemporary references are thrown in for hasty contemporaneity. At one point "Sarabeth"s accused of being "too '90's," but she really sounds more '70's as she criticizes her mother for staying at home raising kids. These twentysomethings don't even seem to e-mail, listen to Ipods, or use cell phones.

I'm not sure the chronology works out about the relatives she's named for who died in the Holocaust, but the stories she has grown up with about them through her immigrant father (a charming Ronald Guttman who can quote Jewish sages such as Kafka or Hillel or Woody Allen as needed) and her ongoing connection to them is very moving, especially --very unusually for films--as she learns to embrace her heritage rather than reject it as she works hard to find her own artistic voice and style. Smoothly incorporated into the story, the scenes with NYC's gay synagogue are very contemporary and a nice counterpoint to most films by showing the potential for progressive, inclusionary Judaism as an alternative.

For a small indie film without a budget for pop tunes, the music by David Shire is lovely.

Even as we start to tear up a bit at her unpredictable choices, we root for Sokoloff's "Sarabeth".

Reviewed by lkohen 10 / 10

Funny, vividly moving and tender; Never seen anything quite like it.

This movie resonated with me in a lot of ways.

It tickles the funny bone, while also vividly moving. It is a tender portrayal of the love shared within a Jewish family during mid-life coming-of-age experiences for the parents as well as their grown-up children.

I cannot say enough about this movie. It is like Woody Allen, but so much more so and with emotion. And very funny too, sometimes dark but other times hopeful. Never seen anything quite like it. Thought-provoking and full of real-life feeling.

I loved the Brooklyn and cityscape shots!

Reviewed by celtica1339 7 / 10

Great first effort by a new director

I just received the tollbooth as a Christmas gift and found it to be a well written and acted film. it's very obviously an "indie film", but has a top rate cast including tovah feldshuh and ron guttman. how they could afford these big stars on an indie budget i'll never know, but thumbs up for the casting. the story is classic new york: artistically aspiring bridge-and-tunnel girl struggles to reconcile her play-it-safe boyfriend and her EXTREMELY Jewish family (maybe too Jewish if that's possible) with her dreams of making an impact on the NY art scene. Debra Kirschner's script is serious coming of age story punctuated with lighthearted soundtrack music and some zingers from feldshuh. A worthy viewing.

-Rowan Bishop-

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