WORKING WOMAN – Review by Cate Marquis

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In the compelling drama Working Womana young Israeli woman’s joy at being offered a promising career opportunity changes when she learns that sexual harassment is part of the price.

There is always some foolish person who responds on hearing of a case of workplace sexual harassment with the question “why didn’t she just leave and get another job?” Director Michal Aviad’s fine Israeli film goes a way towards answering that clueless question by focusing on the complicated situation of this one Working Woman.

When Orna (Liron Ben Shlush) is offered a chance to learn the real estate business from the ground up, by taking a job as an assistant to a man with a rapidly rising business in the field, she is thrilled. Her new boss, Benny (Menashe Noy), was her commander during her military service but his real estate business is booming now and he needs extra help.

The chance comes at a lucky time for Orna and her husband Ofer (Oshri Cohen). Ofer is trying to open a new restaurant, they couple have three small children, and money is tight. The new job will mean long hours and irregular ones, which worries Ofer, but Orna is adamant. Orna quickly becomes indispensable, and she and Benny make a good business team. But something happens one late work night that changes things for Orna.

Liron Ben Shlush is excellent as Orna, who struggles with a host of conflicting feelings and tough choices. Now, she has to figure out what she will do, walk a difficult tightrope to hold on to her career or risk her family’s well-being and her husband’s dreams if she can’t. It is not a rare situation, but Working Woman follows one woman choosing her way through that minefield, a fine exploration of just how difficult and complicated those choices can be.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Working Woman is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for March 29, 2019

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Cate Marquis

Cate Marquis is a film critic and historian based in the St. Louis, Missouri area. Marquis reviews film for the St. Louis Jewish Light weekly newspaper and Playback: stl website, as well as other publications. The daughter of artist Paul Marquis, she was introduced to classic and silent films by her father, as well as art and theater. Besides reviewing films, she lectures on film history, particularly the silent film era, has served on the board of the Meramec Classic Film Festival and is a long-time collaborator with the St. Louis International Film Festival, serving on various juries.