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Muslim apprentice spikes Jewish baker’s dough

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Nat (Jonathan Pryce) is the owner of Dayan and Son, a Kosher bakery located in London. The store’s name is a bit of a misnomer since he’s been the only Dayan working there ever since his father passed away.

Nat’s disappointed that his own son, Stephen (Daniel Caltagirone), opted to become a lawyer rather than join the family business. Consequently, he had to settle for teaching the tricks of the trade to a neighborhood kid (Dominic Garfield), only to have that sole assistant eventually stolen away by Sam Cotton (Philip Davis), a conniving competitor planning to open another bakery right next door.

To add insult to injury, Cotton is also wining and dining Nat’s lonely landlord Joanna Silverman (Pauline Collins), not out of affection, but to buy the building for a song. If successful, he’ll be able to kick Nat out once the lease expires. Worst of all, Dayan and Son is having trouble staying afloat due to a dwindling clientele that’s dying off.

Nat’s fortunes change soon after he hires Ayyash (Jerome Holder), a teenaged Muslim immigrant from Darfur, as his new apprentice. For, it isn’t long before the store is attracting long lines of customers.

But what Nat doesn’t know is that Ayyash has been spiking the batter with marijuana. That’s the reason for the sudden increase in satisfied shoppers. Of course, it’s just a matter of time before the cat’s out of the bag, and matters come to a head when the proprietor gets an explanation for his skyrocketing profits.

Thus unfolds “Dough,” a tender-hearted dramedy directed by John Goldschmidt (Maschenka). The cross-cultural adventure milks most of its humor and tension out of the friendship grudgingly forged between between unlikely-buddies Nat and Ayyash. The picture effectively contrasts the former’s being old, Jewish,white, British and middle-class with the latter’s being young, Muslim, black, African and living hand to mouth.

The film also features a surprising number of intriguing subplots, including a love triangle involving Nat, Joanna and Cotton; Ayyash and his mother’s (Natasha Gordon) becoming homeless, Nat’s neglected granddaughter (Melanie Freeman) craving quality time with her grampa, and Ayyash’s antagonizing a vengeful drug dealer (Ian Hart).

By the closing tableau, all the loose ends are tied up quite satisfactorily, and we’ve also learned a very timely lesson in tolerance. ‘Dough’-lightful!

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