(2002) dir. Menno Meyjes – with Leelee Sobieski, Molly Parker, John Cusack. Oh, and Noah Taylor as Hitler.

Synopsis: A fictionalized look into the life of Hitler (yes, that Hitler) as a young man, using an interesting story to try to examine what factors contributed to the Hitler that is now etched irrevocably into history and minds. This movie revolves around young Adolf Hitler’s bizarre, if tenuous, friendship with a Jewish art dealer (that would be John Cusack). In no way excuses what Hitler became, but does try to wonder how.

Noah Taylor – A Portrait of the Failed Artist as a Young Man

Review: I liked this movie. It is serious and at times uncomfortable—as any movie covering this topic should be—but keeps itself afloat with a periodic infusion of mild humor. Just the right amount. ‘Max’ doesn’t make Hitler likeable, but it does help remind us that he was human. Which is an important point if we’re not going to be fated to repeat the past, etc. etc. etc. This movie lets you feel some empathy for the character (at least, I could) without coming anywhere near a rationalization or justification for what Hitler became. Another thing I should point out is, the movie’s title is Max. Max is the art dealer character played by John Cusack. Hitler is not exactly a minor character, but he’s also not the person you see on screen the most; a lot of the movie is spent building context and fleshing out the storyline of Max’s life. All in all, a generally well-done and provocative movie. (The ending’s kind of predictable, but there’s only so much you can do when you have a real person figuring into your story.)

Rating: [••••] out of [•••••]

Etc.: Max Rothman: “Hitler, come on, I’ll buy you a glass of lemonade.” imdb info