Directed and co-written by Gev Miron, Jacob The Baker is based on co-writer/star Noah Benshea’s bestselling book. Miron, Benshea, and co-writer Wendy Kout begin this fable with a woman fast asleep. The lady (Dara Emery) is woken up by a phone call from her producer. It turns out this reporter of “fluff pieces” is meant to interview Noah Benshea (Benshea) about Jacob the Baker before he puts on a sold-out performance.
The reporter apologizes for being late, but the tardiness does not faze the beloved author. As the interview gets underway, Noah recounts stories of how his fictional character has helped real people. The film cuts away to countries worldwide to follow these people as they search for the connections and meaning they long for. How do these anecdotes relate to the reporter’s hectic life? Is Noah Benshea as calm and wise as he first appears?
Jacob The Baker is basically just one conversation for 76 minutes. It is not exactly the most cinematic of endeavors, so Miron uses the people Jacob has helped to show off his understanding of camera movements, lighting, and when to use wide angles versus close-ups. Not only does the globe-hopping give the story an epic scope, but it also allows for beautiful vistas. In Denmark (I think), the shot of the town square in front of a church is awe-inspiring.
“…Noah recounts stories of how his fictional character has helped real people.”
The script is also quite good, though a few moments are too goofy for their own good. Lines about a mother not being a good parent because she’s going after her dreams, not letting her child dream ring true. But exchanges about whether Jacob and by extension Noah, is religious are too overwrought to work. It is lovely that so many faiths impart the importance of kindness, but throughout the film, Noah/Jacob is only ever heard praying/talking to the monotheistic God of the Bible/Torah. Shiva, Mireuk, Quetzalcoatl, Thoth, Odin, and many others are not mentioned, discussed, or otherwise reflected. This directly contradicts what is said about Noah’s beliefs and how he views humans’ faith.
Still, Jacob The Baker works because of the cast. Benshea exudes warmth and kindness, so audiences never question his authenticity. Emery plays off of her co-star well, balancing his optimism with real-world pragmatism that is cleverly broken down as the plot progresses. These two are excellent together and craft a natural bond.
Jacob The Baker is an inspiring story about how having faith in people and just listening to their needs is enough to make a positive change. Emery and Benshea are brilliant, quickly revealing everything viewers need to know about their respective roles. The story structure and direction are spot-on as well. It’s too bad that the script isn’t as of the world as it thinks it is. But that’s a minor quibble overall.
For more information, visit the official Jacob The Baker site.