Category Archives: Reviews

Film Review: Between Worlds

Film Review: Between Worlds

Israel’s Between Worlds is an intriguing film about an unexpected friendship between two women, one of whom uses a false identity. Director/ screenwriter Miya Hatav lets the audience in on the reason for the deception, which adds a note of tension throughout.

A young man named Ulli is taken to a Jerusalem hospital after being seriously injured during a stabbing attack. His religious mother Bina (Maya Gasner) goes to stay with him. It is the first time in quite a while that she has been with her son; Ulli became secular and broke contact with his family.

Bina meets a young woman named Amal (Maria Zreik), who says her comatose father is in a room down the hall. In actuality, Amal is Ulli’s girlfriend and a Palestinian. The “comatose father” is a stranger she picked at random.

The two women forge a bond that could be broken at any moment if Bina discovers Amal’s true reason for staying at the hospital. They also learn about empathy, acceptance, and the enduring nature of love.

Much of the film occurs in Ulli’s hospital room, which means its success rests on how completely the audience accepts the relationship between Bina and Amal. Gasner, who has credits in Israeli films (Anthem) and television (Blue Natalie), gives a fully grounded performance as Bina. Zreik, an award-winning actress who also just earned a law degree, does a beautiful job of showing the conflicts within Amal.

The cinematography (Ran Aviad) and music (Jonathan Bar-Giora) are both essential to establishing the mood of this film. Editing by Nisim Massas is thoughtful and helps to keep the audience invested in the story.

Between Worlds makes an eloquent appeal for tolerance by showing damage that can be caused from its lack.

Theme: Assumed Identities

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Assumed Identities: List For Week Ending August 20, 2017  http://www.thinkingcinema.com/assumed-identities-list-for-week-ending-august-20-2017/

Film Review: Still Tomorrow

Film Review: Still Tomorrow

Jian Fan’s documentary Still Tomorrow is an unpretentious, haunting film about poet Xiahua Yu. Like the poems written by Ms. Yu, this film never tries to win you over. It simply presents its case with such dignity that you surrender to it of your own accord. Yu came to national attention in 2015 when herContinue Reading

Film Review: Brigsby Bear

Film Review: Brigsby Bear

Dave McCary’s Brigsby Bear is an eccentric, sweet-natured film that succeeds largely because of a winning performance by Kyle Mooney. This is a promising debut for director McCary and star Mooney (who also co-wrote with Kevin Costello). Although you may have seen elements of this film before, it is not likely you have seen themContinue Reading

Landline

Landline

Gillian Robespierre made a successful directorial debut with 2014’s Obvious Child, which mixed rom-com elements with the decidedly unfunny subject of abortion. Her new comedy, Landline, tackles the relationship between two sisters and how it is affected by their father’s infidelity. For reasons best known to Robespierre and co-writer Elisabeth Holm, the story takes placeContinue Reading

Film Review: Lady Macbeth

Film Review: Lady Macbeth

William Oldroyd’s film Lady Macbeth has nothing to do with the Shakespeare play. The film adapts Nikolai Leskov’s nineteenth-century novel, Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk, and moves it to northeast England. It is a stark jewel of a film with one whale of a performance from Florence Pugh in the title role. Leskov’s novel was publishedContinue Reading

Film Review: The Big Sick

Film Review: The Big Sick

The Big Sick is a film that is easy to love but hard to categorize. It has the feel of a rom-com, except that the female lead spends a large part of the film in a coma. Dramatic moments stemming from her illness are leavened by standup routines and insightful humor. The Pakistani American maleContinue Reading

Film Review: Maudie

Film Review: Maudie

Maudie, Aisling Walsh’s biopic of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis, is an unpretentious and inspiring film. Sally Hawkins does not play Maud so much as disappear into her. Ethan Hawke gives a strong performance as her husband Everett. Screenwriter Sherry White provides a touching love story about two people Maud describes as a “pair ofContinue Reading

Film Review: Stefan Zweig: Farewell To Europe

Film Review: Stefan Zweig: Farewell To Europe

Ordinarily, I would not recommend Googling the subject of a biopic prior to seeing the film. In the case of Stefan Zweig: Farewell To Europe, I have to make an exception. Director/writer Maria Schrader and co-writer Jan Schomburg operate under the assumption that viewers are already familiar with Zweig’s life. Expending work to piece togetherContinue Reading

Film Review: My Cousin Rachel

Film Review: My Cousin Rachel

Good looks only go so far Roger Michell’s adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel is easier to admire than like. The film is quite impressive from a technical standpoint. Mike Eley’s cinematography, Kristina Hetherington’s editing, Rael Jones’ music, and Alice Normington’s production design are all top-notch. Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin give strongContinue Reading

Film Review: In Between

Film Review: In Between

Maysaloun Hamoud’s debut feature, In Between, is enthralling and more than a bit unsettling. It tells the story of three young, independent Palestinian women who share an apartment in Tel Aviv. Hamoud’s script illustrates how their ambitions vary from tradition, and the price each pays for her choices. Dynamic attorney Leila (Mouna Hawa) shares anContinue Reading