HIS BITTERNESS WOULD NOT ALLOW him to let go of his grudges; it is true. If he got into an argument or altercation where he felt just even slighted in any way, he would hold a grudge against the person forever. I understood because I used to do the same thing; but that was years ago. You can choose whether it was maturity or growing old, but I do not have the same intensity now like I did back then. Granted nowadays I will not forget, but I do not go out of my way to get back at the “perpetrator.” Instead I ignore the person, devoting as little energy as possible to them. There is a member at one of the fitness centers where I teach who was the owner of a company that was a customer of mine. We used to be on friendly terms and though they ran a little slow with their payments, he would work to get us paid. When the economy started to drop the payments got slower and slower. I had to call their accounts payable department and get a hold of him at the fitness center. Finally, when I found him he told me they were working on our invoices and not to hold up their orders; that he would remember who worked with them once they turned things around. So, I released his current order with us and after a few weeks went by his company filed bankruptcy. To this day when I see him I make no acknowledgment of his existence. NOW THIS MAY SEEM HARSH to some of you, but it really does not take any energy away from me. It is as if he is a stranger passing me by, though by the look on his face he does try to avoid me. The difference I was referring to between me and my friend is he would have turned his feelings all to hatred and made foul comments to the owner any chance he would have seen him. His feelings for an individual would get twisted with any other negative feelings he had stuffed inside of himself; so, his reactions were always at an extreme level, way beyond what the situation warranted. As I am getting older I do not have the energy nor the desire to hold grudges. Sure, as I said before, I may not forget what happened but I do not want to spend my time resenting the individual who wronged me. I have seen some elderly people who are unpleasant to be around because they are filled with resentment and anger. If I was in a similar situation like what was depicted in this romantic drama, I do not know if I would want to be around those individuals. IT WAS HARD FOR RONIT KRISHNA, played by Rachel Weisz (My Cousin Rachel, The Light Between the Oceans), to return for her father’s funeral to the community that had looked down at her. Their reason was still walking the streets. This film festival nominee also starred Rachel McAdams (Game Night, Spotlight) as Esti Kuperman, Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle, Ginger & Rosa) as David Kuperman and Allan Corduner (Defiance, The Merchant of Venice) as Moshe Hartog. Due to the beautiful acting from both Rachels I could get through the slowness at times of the story. The 2 actresses both had this special way of using their physical features to convey their feelings. It took some time for me to get used to the pacing before I was pulled into this film. I did find the setting interesting for it added a religious element to the love story that I found thought provoking. On a curious note I was intrigued with the way people dealt with their grudges.
Silence is something I yearn for in a movie theater, not in a relationship. I have always felt silence aka non-communication was a hurtful act. If someone needs to gather their thoughts or calm down before speaking, I totally understand it. However, if a person does not want to talk about an issue, what do you do and where do you go with that? I remember working with an employee a long time ago who by herself was bubbly with an outgoing personality. When she was accompanied by her husband to any of the company events, her eyes looked dead and she was always low key; it was like being with a completely different person. It turned out her husband was always going out with his friends, leaving her home alone. He also was heavily involved with some hobby that kept him out in their garage for hours. It was apparent to me that if the two of them continued the way they were going something was bound to happen to end their marriage. I have seen and been in enough relationships to know people sometimes evolve out of them or worse, go into a relationship thinking they can change the other person. It is tough once a person starts thinking they do not belong or feel they are missing something. I have stated in past reviews that love is a powerful force and even with this film I still stand by my statement. MEIRA, played by Hadas Yaron (Fill the Void, Out of Sight), was a Hasidic Jewish wife and mother who felt lost within their tight knit community. Her husband Shulem, played by Luzer Twersky (Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish, Where is Joel Baum?), did not understand what could possibly be wrong. After bumping into the stranger Felix, played by Martin Dubrevil (7 Days, L’Affaire Dumont), at the bakery one day; Meira started thinking more about her life. This film festival winning dramatic movie was one made up of subtleties. With a quiet slow pace the story took its time to let the scenes soak in. I thought the acting was excellent as the characters evolved with the aid of gentle nuances and gestures. Some viewers may find this romantic film slow going and I have to say it came close to feeling like that for me. However, what kept me involved in the characters was the interesting way their emotions would come out; I think the appropriate term here would be: the way the characters wore their hearts on their sleeves. An interesting thing to note here; I do not suffer from claustrophobia but throughout this movie I felt a heaviness closing in on me at times. I think that says something about the film. There was French, Yiddish, Hebrew and Italian spoken with English subtitles.
I do not need to read a book to know how strong women can be. Televised wildlife programs showing fiercely protective mothers with their offspring are not needed since I was raised among powerful women. My maternal grandmother’s life was devoted exclusively to her children. She had neither the need for friendships nor any outside interests (except for movies); her mission was to take care of her children: my mother and her siblings. There never was a time where my grandmother did not have freshly baked or cooked food in her house. The only traveling she did was from her house to one of her children’s homes. This woman never uttered a bad word; her strongest showing of displeasure was uttering the word “feh.” In turn, each of her daughters was strong in their own way. When my leg was caught in the back door of the local bus; my mother held me up as she ran alongside the bus, screaming and pounding on the door until it stopped. When my aunt’s two youngest children each had a run in with a glass door, my aunt did not wait for an ambulance. She wrapped their bleeding limbs as she put them into her car and sped away to the hospital, where my cousins were stitched up without loss of limb. I was not surprised by these women and I was not surprised with matriarch Ester Stermer’s strength in this incredible documentary. However, I was amazed on what she did for her family. When explorer Chris Nicola was investigating a massive array of caves at the Polish/Russian border, he discovered signs of human habitation. Curious, he began to piece together bits of story and information that led him to the survivors from the cave. Mixing archival footage with reenactments narrated by the surviving family members, this story was unimaginable. During Word War II Esther Stermer led her family to these caves; where they lived underground for nearly two years, avoiding capture by Nazi soldiers. I understood why the director used actors to recreate scenes of the family’s journey; yet, I felt they were tamer than the survivors’ real experiences. Not that I consider this a fault, it just gave me a minor feeling of manipulative, dramatic effect. Seeing and hearing the survivors’ memories had more impact. So many people judge strength by how much weight they can lift or how far they can run and it is certainly a valid method. However, the strength of a protective parent really is a special gift.
In a new marketing twist, Hollywood is going from remaking previous movies to converting their religion now. In this suspenseful thriller, the movie studio took the story from the film The Exorcist and changed the religion to the Jewish faith. They could easily have called this movie The Yiddish Exorcist. I do not know if it has to do with society’s short attention span or whether we have become desensitized to violence in general; but, I did not find this movie that suspenseful. It needed a longer build up of tension to achieve true apprehension. With the coming attractions being shown, I was already prepared for some of the scenes, which took away the excitement for me. There were a few scenes that worked well, but I felt it was due to the well honed actors. Divorced parents Clyde and Stephanie, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Losers, Watchmen) and Kyra Sedgwick (Gamer, The Closer-TV) work together to save their youngest daughter Em, played by Natasha Calis (Donovan’s Echo, Sharp as Marbles) from an ancient evil spirit. This was not an original idea, but I really liked the matching up of Jeffrey and Kyra; they added emotional heft to the film’s story. Another plus to the movie was the avoidance of a cliched soundtrack, letting the scenes handle the build up of an impending terror. I gave this scary film a passing grade; however, I hope this is not an example of what we can expect a suspenseful film to be in the future. Personally, it does not matter to me what religion is used; I just hope the movie studios work on what is needed to build up the tension, in what is supposed to be a scary movie. Scenes with blood.
2 1/3 stars