Movie Review: Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles

The stories behind the daidle deedle daidle digguh digguh deedle daidle dum.

Rated PG-13. Opens Friday at the Clay Theater.

Documentaries about New York-based phenomena tend to forget that most people don’t live there, and even the vast majority of New Yorkers can’t afford to, say, shop at Bergdorf’s or stay at the Carlyle. Max Lewkowicz’s uplifting documentary Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles successfully evades the lifestyle-porn problem as it examines the impact of the 1964 Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof. It helps that Roof was made into a successful movie in 1971, and the play continues to be revived; the closing titles claim it’s been performed somewhere in the world every day since 1964, which is unprovable but sure feels true. Featuring interviews with figures such as my boyfriend Itzhak Perlman and my other boyfriend Lin-Manuel Miranda, Miracles argues for the continued resonance of Roof’s basic story of an impoverished but devout Jewish patriarch in 1905 Russia whose faith in G-d, belief in tradition, and — most importantly — his sense of humor are constantly tested as the world changes around him and frequently kicks his ass. It’s noted that it’s ultimately a play about displaced people, and whenever it’s performed there are always concurrent news reports about people being displaced (MAGA!). But Fiddler on the Roof ultimately endures because it’s very funny and has songs that stick in your head, and that’s no small miracle.

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