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The Wedding Plan - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
The Wedding Plan
Directing: B+
Acting: B+
Writing: B+
Cinematography: B
Editing: B

If you think all movies focused on a wedding are the same, you haven't seen The Wedding Plan. That's not to say it's especially unpredictable, but there is a context here that American audiences, at least, are not often exposed to.

This is an Israeli film, spoken in Hebrew with English subtitles, about very devout Jewish people. But therein lies how The Wedding Date employs some very conventional storytelling, and yet finds several ways to buck convention. It has seeming contradictions that somehow work for it in the end. The whole premise of the film is that a woman frustrated with ten years in the dating scene is obsessed with sticking to a planned wedding date, even after the prospective groom admits he does not love her and backs out. Still, Noa Koler, who has a truly radiant screen presence, makes Michal a strong female character of a sort rarely seen onscreen.

The problem, and it seems like a pretty significant one, is how the movie takes its time to really get into the story. The first several scenes are just overlong enough, with very little actually happening, that I can think of few people I know I would actually recommend this movie to -- the easily bored would do well to skip this. How much difference does it make, really, for me to say it's worth sticking it out to the end? Probably not much, but I couldn't stress it enough. By the end of this movie I was truly invested in Michal's fate, and touched by the final turn of events. They do seem fairly predictable in retrospect, not to mention unrealistic. But sometimes you just have to surrender yourself to this notion: so what if, underneath it all, a story amounts to a fairy tale? Isn't that what most people are asking of any narrative film they watch anyway?

It's hard even to attach a genre to this movie. A comedy romance, I guess? One with an undercurrent of melancholy, to be sure -- but with some real joy to it in the end. It's not as "fun" as the premise might suggest; it's not even particularly straightforward in its rather subtle humor, much of that as there is. It's more that it's intermittently amusing as opposed to hilarious. Much of it presents as straight up drama, albeit without any trace of theatrics or melodrama, thankfully. Writer-director Rama Burshtein seems to have a lot to say about the nature of faith.

Michal has roughly one month until her scheduled wedding date when her fiance backs out, and she decides to stick to the plan. If it's God's will, she concludes, a suitable groom will come to her in time for the wedding. She continues the plans accordingly, while also allowing herself to be set up on dates by a matchmaker. This brings on a few scenes of essentially blind dates she goes on, each scene unique and compelling, offering something with more depth than the more expected montage. These different men she meets, and how Michal responds to them, tells us more about her and who she is. She is more than this seemingly crazy plan she's got going, and the family and close friends around her treat her accordingly. There's some refreshing irony in the dimensions afforded Michal and the many other women in her life, considering the arguably regressive premise of a woman desperately on the hunt for a man.

Except "desperate" isn't quite the right word, and that's how The Wedding Plan sets itself apart. Michal never comes across as desperate. Foolish, maybe, but even that is downplayed. She is simply a woman who makes a decision: she's tired of wasting time, and commits to having faith that God will deliver for her. She makes a plan that to most people would seem insane, but the people who care about her go ahead and humor her. In some cases, this brings out consistent insecurities on Michal's part: she comes into immediate sincerity with more than one person, and refuses to trust it.

The Wedding Plan is an impossible story populated by people who feel genuine and real, and that's what sells it. That and the fantastic performance by its lead, who we can only hope will be seen in more projects that showcase her talents this well.

Noa Koler awaits the fruition of THE WEDDING PLAN.

Overall: B+
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