Review: FIDDLER: A MIRACLE OF MIRACLES Is A Solid But Surface-Level Tribute

fiddler a miracle of miracles
Sheldon Harnick in FIDDLER: A MIRACLE OF MIRACLES. Photo credit: Courtesy of Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films.

Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles is a new documentary film paying tribute to Fiddler on the Roof, one of Broadway’s most celebrated musicals of all time. A must-see for any musical theatre fan, but unlikely to appeal to anyone else, this movie maybe goes a bit too far in praising the stage show at its core.

If you have ever seen Fiddler on the Roof, or are at least familiar with what it is, the story of how it was made is likely an appealing one. This truly is one of the most popular and adored musicals of all time. However, this documentary doesn’t focus enough on the making of the musical, instead singing its praises over and over again until you will be tired of hearing how much people love it.

The film does a solid job of making sure that people know that Fiddler on the Roof is great, and explaining why it is great, but unfortunately, a majority of the audience seeing this movie will already know that. Very few people will be watching a documentary called Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles to discover what the eponymous Fiddler is, and as such, the film exists for little purpose other than adulation.

Additionally, the movie could have used some additional work in its pacing. Since there isn’t much to the film in terms of substance, it ultimately starts to feel repetitive and annoying halfway through. One can only hear so many interviews about the cultural significance of Fiddler on the Roof before they start to want the movie to just be over.

fiddler cast
Maria Karnilova, Tanya Everett, Zero Mostel, Julia Migenes, and Joanna Merlin backstage, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Opening Night, Sept. 22, 1964. Photo Credit: AP Photo. Courtesy of Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films.

The film also doesn’t do a particularly good job of giving the audience a subject with whom they can identify. This documentary is really about the musical as a whole, but you can’t really form sympathy with a musical. For the movie to be more effective, it needed to have a human element at the core, whether an investigator exploring the impact of the musical, the creators of the musical, or a particular cast from a performance.

However, perhaps the most disappointing thing about this documentary is that it doesn’t take full advantage of the music from Fiddler on the Roof. There’s a reason why this is one of the most iconic musicals of all time, so why not take advantage of that? Only a handful of performance clips are included. Perhaps the filmmakers had difficulty in licensing them, but that seems unlikely when the documentary is so flattering to the show.

On a technical level, the movie is fine if a bit straightforward. There could have spared to be much more variety in the storytelling methods. Although the film will keep your attention if you are interested in the information being relayed to you, it could have been a more compelling and entertaining watch if director Max Lewkowicz didn’t play it so safely.

Although Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles is a solid tribute to one of the greatest musicals ever made, it fails to go beyond that. Sadly, this movie doesn’t provide the deeper insight you would hope for from a behind-the-scenes documentary like this.

Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles opens in theaters on August 23.

By Sean Boelman

Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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