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8.26.2016

Let's Go To The Movies - A Tale Of Love And Darkness

Last night I saw a sneak peak of the movie, A Tale of Love and Darkness, which is officially in theaters today.

Natalie Portman's directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness, follows a Jewish family living in 1940's Jerusalem. A young boy, Amos (Amir Tessler), his troubled mother, Fania (Natalie Portman), and his failed academic father, Arieh (Gilad Kahana) live their lives against the ever changing backdrop of Palestine through World War II, the U.N. vote to create a separate Jewish state, and Israel's war of independence thereafter.

A Tale of Love and Darkness is a hauntingly quiet film. What was obviously a passion project for Natalie Portman (she wrote the screenplay, directed, and starred in the film) shown threw in her touching performance as the young and imaginative mother of the renowned Israeli author, Frank Oz (the movie is based on his best-selling memoir of the same name). Newcomer, Amir Tessler, gives an impressive first performance, as it's through his young eyes that the viewer witnesses the Palestinian conflict during a particularly tumultuous time in history unfold, as well as the ongoing internal struggle of his mother battling a crippling depression.

The film is visually stunning as well. The soft shades of blue and green depict their real world and are juxtaposed against the bright, sweeping scenes of Fania's imagination. The effect really highlights the characters struggles and need for escape. The film is in Hebrew too (with English subtitles), and really adds that extra air of authenticity to the story. It's a beautiful language and only enhances what is already a beautifully tragic and true story.

For me, this was a heavy film and quite emotionally draining too, but I'm glad I took the time to see it. I'm always amazed when children come out of situations like this and go on to create beauty in the world instead of falling victim to their circumstances. Stories like these aren't easy. They're hard to get made, and they're difficult to watch; but they're important too. It's not the type of movie that drives the crowds to the theaters, but I'd highly recommend paying the ticket price to see this one. It's not a "feel good" movie by any means, but you'll definitely feel good supporting a small and worthy film such as this.

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