The Substance Of Fire

  • 1996
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama

Daniel Sullivan's earnest adaptation of Jon Robin Baitz's play is worth seeing for Ron Rifkin's performance alone. Rifkin stars as New York publisher Isaac Geldhart, who as a child watched while his family was taken away to die in a Nazi concentration camp. That memory has defined his life and now threatens to destroy it: Isaac feels compelled to publish...read more

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Daniel Sullivan's earnest adaptation of Jon Robin Baitz's play is worth seeing for Ron Rifkin's performance alone. Rifkin stars as New York publisher Isaac Geldhart, who as a child watched while his family was taken away to die in a Nazi concentration camp. That memory

has defined his life and now threatens to destroy it: Isaac feels compelled to publish only expensively bound accounts of atrocities and genocide, not quite the sort of books that fly off the shelves. When Isaac rejects a surefire bestseller in favor of a four-volume reference work on the medical

experiments of Dr. Mengele -- a noble endeavor, but one that will surely sink the house -- Isaac's children (Tony Goldwyn, Timothy Hutton and Sarah Jessica Parker) are forced to make a painful choice: They can win their father's love by indulging his obsessions, or they can save the family

business. Rifkin's work here is astonishing: As Isaac's eccentric bibliomania slowly degenerates into more serious dementia, he deftly captures the essence of a man who's losing the three most important things in his life: his mind, his memories and his family.

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  • Released: 1996
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Daniel Sullivan's earnest adaptation of Jon Robin Baitz's play is worth seeing for Ron Rifkin's performance alone. Rifkin stars as New York publisher Isaac Geldhart, who as a child watched while his family was taken away to die in a Nazi concentration camp… (more)

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