The Substance of Fire

Watch The Substance of Fire

  • R
  • 1996
  • 1 hr 37 min
  • 6.1  (661)
  • 54

The Substance of Fire is a 1996 drama film that delves into the complexities of family dynamics and the struggles of a publishing company in the face of changing times. The movie is based on a play by Jon Robin Baitz and directed by Daniel J. Sullivan. The story revolves around Isaac Geldhart, played by Tony Goldwyn, a Holocaust survivor who heads a respected publishing company that his father established. Isaac is a passionate but difficult man who is struggling to keep his family's publishing business afloat. He publishes books that are of personal importance to him but do not sell well, leaving the company in financial trouble. His children, Aaron (Benjamin Ungar) and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), work with him and try to help, but Isaac's stubbornness and inability to compromise put them at odds.

Isaac is also dealing with the loss of his wife and the emotional trauma of the Holocaust. As a result, he is distant from his family and finds it difficult to connect with others. He is fiercely protective of his family's legacy and is unwilling to make compromises to keep up with the changing publishing industry.

The plot thickens when Isaac decides to publish a controversial book by a young and talented author, Martin Geldhart (Timothy Hutton), who happens to be Isaac's estranged son. The book, titled "The Holocaust: A Report," explores Isaac's own experiences during the Holocaust, including his time spent in concentration camps. The book also reveals family secrets that Isaac would rather keep hidden.

As the publishing company struggles with financial issues and criticism of the book grows, tensions mount within the Geldhart family. The relationship between Isaac and Martin is particularly strained, with Martin resentful of his father's emotional distance and unwillingness to acknowledge his work. Meanwhile, Sarah and Aaron try to hold the family together and save the company from financial ruin.

The movie explores themes of family, legacy, forgiveness, and the power of storytelling. It is a thought-provoking and emotional journey that tackles complex issues with sensitivity and depth. The performances are all exceptional, especially Tony Goldwyn's portrayal of the troubled and enigmatic Isaac Geldhart.

Overall, The Substance of Fire is a powerful and poignant film that will stay with you long after the credits roll. It is a testament to the enduring human spirit and the importance of confronting the past in order to move forward.

The Substance of Fire
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 37 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.1  (661)
  • Metascore