Dough is about Nat (played by Jonathan Pryce who is now on HBO’s Game of Thrones as High Sparrow), an old Jewish baker whose life and business are on the decline in London’s East End, hiring, getting to know and eventually befriending Ayyash (played by Jerome Holder), a young Muslim refugee from Darfur. The kid accidentally drops weed into the baker’s dough one day and the story is set into motion from there.
The movie provides a lesson in not judging people based on stereotypes but by the content of their individual character and realizing that as humans the things we have in common can outweigh our differences – if we only let them. The plot of this film reminds young and old that it is never too late to learn about people who do not look or speak or pray or dress or talk like you, and the best way to learn about those who are different from ourselves and our usual, comfortable, convenient “circle” is through good, old fashioned, human-to-human interactions with one another.
Each character couldn’t be more different physically, a white, Jewish, widowed, grandpa who learned his father’s baking skills and inherited his shop, and a young, African, Muslim, fatherless, transient, refugee. The old man represents stability, but also our comfort with routine and things remaining the way they have always been – particularly as we age. The young man represents instability, but also passion, fun, flexibility and working toward changing the things that dissatisfy him in life; even though he doesn’t always go about it the smartest way. (Ah, the folly of youth.)
Initially, both Nat and Ayyash are distrustful of one another; not because of anything they know first hand about one other, but because of the unknown and the stereotypes that have been engrained into their psyches and cultures through generations of ethnic and religious elitism, prejudice and ignorance. Sound familiar? But through their interactions these two characters learn they are not so very different and eventually forge a meaningful friendship with ups and downs, and even a bit of adventure. The old man teaches the young man a trade that traditionally he would have taught his own son (had his son been remotely interested in baking) and the young man resuscitates the old man’s enthusiasm for living.
Throughout the film the importance of the differences between the two characters diminishes so significantly you forget they are “opposites” at all. By the end of this film I had forgotten about Jewish or Muslim, old or young, black or white – just as Nat and Ayyash had.
Dough is neither too “preachy” with its message, sprinkled with enough comedy to make it light; nor so comedic that the message is lost in some sort of a joke. It is a well-balanced movie with a sweet message and solid acting.
I’m rating it with 8 strong “bloops” out of 10 and recommend you see it. It would make a great family movie for an older child (there are maybe three cuss words throughout the entire movie and the message would be lost on little ones), even suitable for an adult with an older or elderly parent. It would make a good Mother’s Day film. I think you will enjoy it.
Dough is a drama/comedy directed by John Goldschmidt, with a script co-written by Jez Freedman and Jonathan Benson.
Nest Week: I would be remiss if I did not publish a review of Purple Rain. It has been thirty two years since I saw it on the big screen and I’ve seen it countless (literally, more than 100 times on video and television – literally), but it’s coming up soon … Gotta pay homage to The Man.
Also, the Danish horror movie What We Become and the sci-fi thriller Highrise will be reviewed.
Final Note: I saw Captain America: Civil War and just as I stated in my “Welcome” message, I will not review it. If it’s your thing, do what you wanna do. You’re going to anyhow. Enjoy.