Motherless Brooklyn (film)

Motherless Brooklyn is a 2019 American neo-noir crime film written, produced, and directed by Edward Norton, based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Jonathan Lethem. Set in 1957 New York City, the film stars Norton as a private investigator with Tourette syndrome, who is determined to solve the murder of his mentor. Motherless Brooklyn also stars Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Cherry Jones, Alec Baldwin, Ethan Suplee and Willem Dafoe.

Motherless Brooklyn
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEdward Norton
Screenplay byEdward Norton
Based onMotherless Brooklyn
by Jonathan Lethem
Produced by
  • Edward Norton
  • Bill Migliore
  • Gigi Pritzker
  • Rachel Shane
  • Michael Bederman
CinematographyDick Pope
Edited byJoe Klotz
Music byDaniel Pemberton
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • August 30, 2019 (2019-08-30) (Telluride)
  • November 1, 2019 (2019-11-01) (United States)
Running time
144 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$26 million[2]
Box office$18.5 million[3]

A passion project of Norton's ever since he had read Lethem's novel in 1999, the film took nearly twenty years to go into production. Although the book is set in contemporary times, Norton felt the plot and dialogue lent themselves more to a noir setting—moving it to the 1950s, with many added plot points inspired by The Power Broker. Other members of the cast joined by February 2018, and principal photography began that same month.

Motherless Brooklyn premiered at the 46th Telluride Film Festival on August 30, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on November 1, 2019, by Warner Bros. Pictures. It underperformed at the box office, grossing $18.5 million against a $26 million budget. The film received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for its ideas and Norton's performance, but criticism for its length and deviations from its source novel. At the 77th Golden Globe Awards, Motherless Brooklyn received a nomination for Best Original Score.

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