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To Take a Wife (2004)
"Ve'Lakhta Lehe Isha" (original title)

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The story takes place in Haifa, Israel, in 1979, during three days before the Shabbat. A young woman trying to raise three children, work from home, and observe the strict Moroccan ... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Sulika Kadosh ...
Dalia Beger ...
Dona (as Dalia Malka Beger)
Kobi Regev ...
Omer Moshkovitz ...
Yam Eitan ...
Valérie Zarrouk ...
Carl Zrihen ...
Victor (as Charly Zrihen)
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Ben Barak
Gilad Ben-David
Dina Blay
Albert Cohen
Shlomi Elkabetz


The story takes place in Haifa, Israel, in 1979, during three days before the Shabbat. A young woman trying to raise three children, work from home, and observe the strict Moroccan traditions of her family finds herself at constant odds with her husband and her brothers, who want her to stay married and leave behind the notions of being loved and free. Written by

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Release Date:

26 January 2005 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Getrennte Wege  »

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Featured in A History of Israeli Cinema (2009) See more »

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a harrowing experience
27 June 2007 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

In Ve'Lakhta Lehe Isha (2004) (To Take a Wife) Ronit and Shlomi Elkaberz have written, directed and taken the lead roles in a harrowing but tragically realistic depiction of the last days of a marriage – surely it can't go on as it is.

As another pindividual said - "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." (Matthew 19:8,9) There is hardness aplenty in the wife's heart. It would seem that the divorce prescribed in Moses' Law is the only sensible solution to the problem.

Like the members of the family being affected by all the unhappiness of the wife and mother, acted with just the right amount of demonstrative unhappiness rather than shallow hysteria by Ronit Elkaberz, it is not pleasant to witness the unwinding of the tie that should have bound the husband and his wife.

The clever scripting of the film uses the minutiae of everyday life in an Israeli family to depict the unfolding story of the final dissolution of a marriage. The husband's plight is one of great loss. Divorce has afflicted his brother. Familial bereavement has cast a pall over his life. The religious practices he follows with such devotion do nothing to shield him from the horrors of his unfolding life.

He evokes the sympathy of the viewer. He is a gentle man. The number of children he has procreated with his wife (are they all his?) would indicate a loving relationship, at least at the outset of the marriage. He seeks to provide domestic assistance in the running of the household. The viewer must ponder whether the wife's complaints about the missing "romantic gestures" would have changed anything. Such chimera take new and different forms once they have passed themselves off as the solution to the problems that can be presented by marital familiarity.

He clings vainly to his religion but neither his wife nor his progeny seem to empathize with his hope and faith.

The last scene, in which he intones in the synagogue the words of Hosea, the biblical prophet who married a harlot, opens up the possibility that the story may have some wider relevance than just to the events depicted in the film. Hosea depicts God telling Israel that they are no longer his people. That he no longer loves them. They are cast off from his care.

Hosea does have a happy ending. After much atonement, Hosea redeems his wife just as God redeems the people of Israel from the slavery and harlotry into which they have sunk. But this can not be accomplished until there has been a change of heart.

It is difficult to see any change of heart taking place in this story. Like the characters in Mike Leigh's films, such as "Bleak Moments", there is a state of stasis that allows for no apparent solution. A breakdown in the family structure appears to be immanent. Moses had a point. Some things that get broken just don't go back together again.

The story of Hosea, though equally harrowing, has a much more joyful conclusion.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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