TJFF ’24: Midas Man

Directed by Joe Stephenson, Midas Man tells the story of Brian Epstein (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd), a determined young man who spent his days selling records out of his parent’s shop. After visiting a new band of unknowns called The Beatles, Epstein decides that he’s better suited as their manager and takes them on as his first clients. Under his wing, these four scruffy lads going nowhere will quickly become global phenomenon, but Epstein struggles to keep up with the pressure.

Coming in the midst of the rebirth of music biopics, Midas Man manages to avoid many of the pitfalls of lesser films by focusing on Epstein himself. Resisting the temptation to become a pseudo-Beatles origin story, the film focuses on the tenstion between Epstein’s drive to succeed and his personal struggles. As the iconic manager himself, Fortune-Lloyd positively bounces around onscreen with an energy that keeps the film lively. Speaking to the audience directly, Midas Man wants us to believe that this is Epstein’s opportunity to share the story from his perspective and Fortune-Lloyd keeps us engaged.

As a result, Midas Man’s biggest questions revolve around the true nature of success. For Epstein, his passion for achievement continues to drive him forward. From his humble beginnings selling records and appliances, he constantly pushed himself to achieve greater things. With the Beatles, he found an opportunity to step onto the global stage, creating a legacy that has long outlived him. 

However, Midas Man explores the emotional toll that his journey took upon him. Struggling to garner praise from his father and unable to find security in a relationship, Epstein is shown here as a man who’s ‘missing something’. Forced into the shadows because of his sexuality, the weight of pressure upon him to measure up to other people’s expectations appears to crush him from the inside. Having gained the whole world, Epstein’s battle is to keep his soul. For him, the allure of success is palpable but Midas Man truly wants to know if it’s worth the cost.

Midas Man is now playing at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. For more information, click here.

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