Liberty Heights

 1999 | Drama | 127 minutes | English


In Baltimore, 1954, Jewish families like the Kurtzmans, are experiencing many changes: Schools are now desegregated, rock ‘n’ roll is blaring on  radios, and car travel is booming. Nate Kurtzman, the father, owns a burlesque theater while running an illegal numbers business. His wife, Ada, is a homemaker, his oldest son, Van, is attending the University of Baltimore, and his younger son, Ben, is a high school senior. Things begin to happen in the Kurtzman household: Ben is attracted to Sylvia, an African-American classmate which infuriates Nate and Ada. But Nate is also angry at Van for attending a masquerade party dressed like Adolf Hitler. More seriously, Nate and his associates are indicted for prostitution and racketeering. Before leaving for prison. Nate attends Ben’s high school graduation. Sylvia is off to attend Spelman College in Atlanta. Ben is staying behind to attend the University of Maryland. Nate blows a kiss to his wife  as he’s taken to prison.

Adrien Brody (Van) / Ben Foster (Ben) / Bebe Neuwirth (Ada) / Joe Mantegna (Nate) / Rebekah Johnson (Sylvia)
Why Stream This Film?
 In Liberty Heights you can observe how a changing city can affect an entire family, ending with the father being dragged to prison. But, as film critic Todd McCarthy stated, the result is a film that’s a grand slam. 
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 85%
  • Metacritic Score: 75
  • American Cinema Foundation: Nominated, Best Feature Film
  • Black Reel Awards: Nominated, Best Supporting Actress (Rebekah Johnson)
LIBERTY HEIGHTS emerges as an accurate memory of that time when the American melting pot, splendid as a theory, became a reality
Roger Ebert

LIBERTY HEIGHTS offers a deeper immersion of that old ’50s feeling than any other Hollywood film in recent memory.
Stephen Holden

The New York Times

Barry Levinson goes deep with LIBERTY HEIGHTS and the result is a grand slam. Summoning up boyhood memories of the 50s, and infusing them with mature and pointed observations about race, class and religion in the U.S., this exceptionally successful director seems to be rediscovering his voice as a writer, and, in the process, has made his best film.
Todd McCarthy


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