MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 19-26: THE WEDDING PLAN

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motw logo 1-35An earnest drama about faith and love, “The Wedding Plan” follows Michal (Noa Koler), a thirtysomething Orthodox Israeli woman who’s ready — more than ready, really — to get married and build a life with her new husband. Things seem to be on the right track until her fiance, Gidi (Erez Drigues), calls things off just a month before their wedding. To the surprise of her friends and family, Michal moves forward with plans to be married in 30 days; invitations are sent, the hall is booked, the dress is bought. Continue reading…

weddibg plan posterMichal’s certainty in her plan is fueled by her unwavering faith in God; she steadfastly believes that He will bring her a groom by the time her wedding day arrives. That said, she doesn’t just sit around waiting for Mr. Right to fall into her lap: She enlists matchmaking help, goes on blind dates, and even flirts with a well-known pop star (Oz Zehavi) in her quest to find true, lasting love. Because for Michal, while the wedding is clearly important, what she really craves is marriage — companionship, partnership, and love.

The premise of “The Wedding Plan” could have led to it becoming a wacky romcom — and if Hollywood ever tries to remake it, that’s almost certainly what will happen. But in the hands of writer/director Rama Burshtein (“Fill the Void”), the film becomes a thoughtful, unhurried examination of the nature of love and faith. It also introduces audiences to a character who likely defies many preconceived notions of what to expect from an Orthodox woman. Michal speaks her mind, she runs a mobile petting zoo, and — once her mind is made up — she has a spine of steel.

How else could she patiently endure everything from people telling her that her plan makes her sound crazy and/or drug-addled to condescension from her (well-meaning) mother? She sits through some of the worst blind dates imaginable and is betrayed by a close friend. Still, she never stops believing that her happy ending — and new beginning — is possible.– Betsy Bozdech

Team #MOTW Comments:

Susan Wloszczyna: It is quite tempting to seat American-Israeli filmmaker Rama Burshtein’s sophomore effort, “The Wedding Plan,” at the same table as “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” And that’s not just because Noa Kooler as the formidable bride-to-be often summons the same off-the-charts anti-ingenue relatability factor, along with a Kudzu-like abundance of curly hair, that served Nia Vardalos so well in the unexpected comedy hit from 2002. That breakout indie smash adhered to Hollywood’s screwball conventions as filtered through the kooky world view of a close-knit ethnic clan. But “The Wedding Plan” feels less like “My Big Fat Jewish Nuptials” and more of a faith-based variation on a Disney princess fantasy. Instead of a fairy godmother, God himself will find her Mr. Right. And in Burshtein’s hands, the outcome is duly enchanting.

Sheila Roberts: Rama Burshtein’s clever, unorthodox rom-com, “The Wedding Plan,” offers a fresh perspective on the concept of an arranged marriage that’s highly entertaining. Noa Koler delivers a standout performance as Michal, a 30-something Orthodox bride whose fiancé unexpectedly admits he’s had a change of heart. Undeterred, Michal refuses to delay her wedding plan. She’s convinced God will eventually provide her with a husband. She embarks on a mission to find her one true love, suffering through an endless string of awkward first dates until finally Mr. Right reveals himself.

Jeanne Wolf: THE WEDDING PLAN is in Hebrew with subtitles. BUT DON’T LET THAT STOP YOU !!! This movie is so hilarious and so heart-felt. So nutty and idealistic that it will totally delight you. The star, Noa Kooler, is full of light and despite her loopy optimism, we believe her all the way. And then there’s the plot -”God will find me the right husband.” Not sensible? C’mon – isn’t that really what every teen with a crush and every female of any age who posts her picture looking for a match sorta thinking? Dream on with this memorable little movie.

Nell Minow: Noa Koler is radiant as a woman who is struggling to understand what faith and love mean to her in a witty and warm-hearted romance. Interview with Rama Burshtein

Jennifer Merin: Writer/Director Rama Burshtein’s second festure is a hilarious romcom starring Noa Kooler as a young woman whose finace tells her he doesn’t love her just one month before their elaborately planned wedding is to take place, and she sets out to find a new groom so as not to waste the time, effort and expense already put into her big event. With its inventive and delightfully quirky plot, charming characters and engaging performances, The Wedding Plan delivers pure entertainment.

FILM DETAILS:

Title: The Wedding Plan

Director: Rama Burshtein

Release Date: May 12, 2017

Running Time: 110 minutes

Language: Hebrew with English subtitles

Principal Cast: Noa Koler, Irit Sheleg

Screenwriter: Rama Burshtein

Production Company: Norma Productions

Distribution Company: Roadside Attractions

Trailer

Official Site:

AWFJ Movie of the Week Panel Members: Thelma Adams, Anne Brodie, Betsy Bozdech, Cynthia Fuchs, Pam Grady, Leba Hertz, Cate Marquis, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow, Sheila Roberts, Liz Whittemore, Susan Wloszczyna, Jeanne Wolf, Dorothy Woodend

Other Movies Opening This Week

Written by Dorothy Woodend, edited by Jennifer Merin, social media by Sandra Kraisirideja

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