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"In a time when the world of study belonged only to men, there lived a girl called Yentl..." So begins this beautifully realized fable of love and sacrifice. The setting is Eastern Europe, circa 1904. Yentl, a smart, spirited, independent young woman, is forced to masquerade as a boy in order to pursue her thirst for knowledge, and yet discovers another kind of love. Produced, Directed, Co-written and starring Barbra Streisand as Yentl, Mandy Patinkin as Avigdor, and Oscar nominated Amy Irving as Hadass. Oscar nominated for Art Direction, and Academy Award Winner for Song Score. Color, 1983, Rated PG, Approx Running Time 2 hrs 14 minutes.
Barbra Streisand made her directorial debut with this 1983 adaptation of the Isaac Bashevis Singer story about a young Eastern European woman (Streisand) who disguises herself as a male at the turn of the century in order to get an education. Except for an excessive musical score with too many songs and Streisand's tiresome tendency to play characters who suppress their beauty, the film is crisp and engaging, and the gender-bending love story complications are fun, if gimmicky. Streisand gives a smart, vulnerable performance and gets fresh work from costars Mandy Patinkin and Amy Irving. --Tom Keogh
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