Norman, whose original title included the rather wordy tagline The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, provides Richard Gere with a most fascinating role, one that would be spoken of for year-end hardware were it in anyone’s hands but his. That slight is not because he’s not worthy; it’s because he’s Richard Gere, who has aged gracefully into his status as one of Hollywood’s elder statesmen.
A mousy Gere stars as the titular protagonist, whose profession seems to revolve around helping people meet other people for whatever profit he can generate, be it monetary or a simple new connection. In Israeli politician Micha Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi), Norman thinks he has hit the jackpot, especially when his pal becomes the prime minister. But Norman finds out that making the connection is easier than using it. Writer-director Joseph Cedar and his star have produced a character—and ultimately, a film—both unexpected and truly special.