Fill the Void

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fill the void

With an offer like this, how can she refuse?

This movie was the Israeli entry for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2012, and it’s a rather hard movie to watch. Not because of the subtitles (it’s one of the rare subtitled films that have words you can read when there’s a white background).

This shows the Orthodox Hasidic community in Tel Aviv, and what you see is often disturbing.

Shira (Hadas Yaron) is an 18-year-old, and she is grieving the loss of her older sister during childbirth. Her mother Rivka (a very compelling Irit Sheleg) likes the son-in-law, and doesn’t like the fact that he might move to another country. This would take her grandson from her, so…she comes up with this brilliant idea. The younger daughter can marry the widowed husband. The problem is, she likes somebody else. A lot of guilt trips are thrown at her, and I found myself thinking while watching this – why does anybody make fun of Scientology or the Mormons? What you witness going on with this religious family was as bizarre as any religion you could name. The women were treated horribly.

Writer/director Rama Burshtein is Orthodox herself, and she sure immerses us in this community.

I’ve only known one person that was in an arranged marriage (it didn’t last), but the divorce rates are about 50%, just like regular marriages. This movie not only showed how weird that is, but also how it appears the woman actually has a choice (a multiple choice, to some degree).

Often times it felt repetitive with the dilemma that is presented to us, and that made the 90 minute run time seem like two hours.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone did the parody Book of Mormon. I’d like to see them tackle this world for their next play (or at the very least, a South Park episode).

I’ve often said that you don’t have to like the characters in a movie to enjoy it. Yet one thing I found while watching this is how all the men looked weird. I couldn’t figure out why Shira was even attracted to her suitor, after she first sees him cleaning his glasses in the dairy section of the grocery store.

There were a few intriguing elements to this movie. I just wish they didn’t go with close-ups instead of character development, which was sorely needed.

If you want to watch a movie with a lot of Jewish stuff going on, check out the Coen brothers A Serious Man from a few years ago. If you still miss the creepy “moving on to the younger sister” thing that Fill the Void had going, play Elvis Presley’s Little Sister.

The good performances and nice cinematography from Asaf Sudri (Beaufort), gets this movie 1 ½ stars out of 5.

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