Focus is based on a little-known novel by playwright Arthur Miller, written when he was a very young man, just after WWII. Produced by media mogul Michael Bloomberg, and directed by Neal Slavin, the film takes place in New York, during the war. William H. Macy of Fargo plays Lawrence Newman, a middle-aged executive who lives with his mother. One night, he sees a neighbor cavorting with a Hispanic woman in the street. The incident turns ugly, and Lawrence later hears that the woman was raped and brutally assaulted. He tells no one. Faced with anti-Semitism at work and in his neighborhood, Lawrence resists joining the bigots, but he doesn't have the courage to stand up to them. He doesn't act when Fred (Meat Loaf Aday) and his other neighbors persecute the Jewish newsvendor, Finkelstein (David Paymer), who lives on the corner. But his lack of active participation in their efforts to drive Finkelstein out makes his neighbors suspicious. One day, Gertrude Hart (Laura Dern) walks into his office looking for a job. Lawrence is immediately struck by her flashy style and good looks, but he's been warned against hiring Jews. He suspects that she's Jewish, and she gets offended at his insinuations and storms out. Things get much worse for Lawrence when he gets a new pair of glasses. Everyone says they make him look Jewish. His boss decides he doesn't make the right impression, and tries to demote him. Lawrence is outraged and quits. He has trouble finding another job, until he runs into Gertrude again. The Jewish-owned firm she works for hires him. He apologizes to her and asks her out. They fall in love, and quickly marry. His neighbors, believing Gertrude is a Jew, grow more suspicious, and Lawrence soon finds himself in physical danger.
- MPAA Rating: PG-13
- Genre(s): Drama
- Run Time: 106min.
- Theatrical Release Date: 10/19/2001
- DVD Release Date: 03/19/2002
- Distributor(s): Paramount
William H. Macy
- Themes: Mistaken Identities,Life on the Homefront,Social Injustice,Race Relations,Work Ethics
- Tone: Claustrophobic,Confrontational,Earnest,Paranoid,Reflective,Talky,Tense
anti-Semitism, discrimination, glasses, mistaken-identity, neighborhood, rape, world-war
- Country of Origin: USA - Limited (10-19-2001)
- Language: English