Monday, March 7, 2016

Movie Review: A Tale of Love and Darkness [SPOILERS]

Image found here.
Last night I went to a screening of A Tale of Love and Darkness, which was the closing event for the Washington Jewish Film Festival. This was Natalie Portman's directorial debut, and she was actually at the event herself!
She wasn't much of a public speaker, but still! To see her in the flesh! Photo by Bruce Guthrie.
The film is based on the memoir by Amos Oz of the same title. The movie was quite depressing, to say the least.There were some bits of comedic relief, but not enough to make you feel like you actually enjoyed watching the film. I found that it is the Jewish/Israeli version of Revolutionary Road: A young mother is happy early on but then becomes depressed when she realizes that family is all that she has to live for; she has no dreams, no aspirations, and ends up killing herself to end the monotony of her life. So, not much of a story, really. I liked the historic parts about Jerusalem and Israel, and there are some interesting tid-bits about the Hebrew language sprinkled throughout, but all in all, I didn't really like the film. It's not that Portman did a bad job: I thought it was directed well, and her acting was wonderful as usual (as were the actors who played her husband and son). But the story itself didn't do it for me; I just wanted to scream at her character, "Get a grip! Life could be so much worse! Stop being so selfish!" When I can't relate to the protagonist of a film, I usually don't like the movie, and that's what happened here.

After the film, we walked out of the theater, and we were each given a gold gift box! We were very curious to see what was inside! Much to our disappointment, this was it:

Maybe a smaller box would have made this seem more impressive...?
A can of sparkling water, a cake pop, and an individually wrapped Twizzler. What a waste! For one, people would have wanted to enjoy some snacks at a reception beforehand or during the film. Who wants to eat this stuff at 9 o'clock at night? And talk about the environmental impacts: all those paper boxes, cake pop wrappers, and the plastic around the candy? That's all going to end up in a landfill. Honestly, I would have preferred my money just go to support the film festival itself rather than help pay for these measly snacks. WJFF, I expected better.

So, two stars for an evening's worth of entertainment. Meh. 

Click here to to see other photos from the event from Bruce Guthrie.

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