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Joy (2005)

Muchrachim Lehiyot Same'ach (original title)
Joy Levine lives in an old apartment that, in complete contrast to her, is shabby and worn-out on the outside while well-kept and filled with joy on the inside. Her life changes when she ... See full summary »



3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »


Credited cast:
Sigalit Fuchs ...
Tal Friedman ...
Dorit Lev-Ari ...
Eliran Caspi ...
Rivka Michaeli ...
Yossi Pollak ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Roni Eltar
Shiri Golan ...
Seller in clothing store
Maya Harel ...
Child in the mall
Yonathan Harel ...
Child in the mall
Omer Kirshenbaum ...
Shimi's daughter
Assaf Leviah ...
Maya's boyfriend


Joy Levine lives in an old apartment that, in complete contrast to her, is shabby and worn-out on the outside while well-kept and filled with joy on the inside. Her life changes when she auditions for a TV show called "Gotta Be Happy". To her astonishment, she is chosen, and her mission is to throw a surprise party for her parents on the upcoming show. However, there is a price to pay for all this: she has to let the viewers into her private inner world and share with them an event that has been overshadowing her family's life and hers for the past 22 years; an event that made a tight-knit bunch of friends shun her parents, Chaya and Yitzhak Levine. The show is to be aired right after Yom Kippur, and the theme is forgiveness. Joy must get all her parents' friends to the party in order to conduct the reconciliation. However, reality keeps obstructing her efforts. The idyll expected from such a show is jeopardized by a string of events that threaten to shatter the already fractured ... Written by Anonymous

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Plot Keywords:

fictional reality show | See All (1) »


Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

1 December 2005 (Israel)  »

Also Known As:

Joy  »

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User Reviews

A movie that will age well about people who clearly didn't
3 December 2005 | by (jerusalem, israel) – See all my reviews

Come to think of it, it's all Sean Connery's fault. It's his time-proof grace and his long lasting abundance of charisma and sex appeal that made us all believe that getting old has nothing but nobility and wisdom and that it doesn't encompass the various physical and mental problems we were all told are the side effect of longevity. It goes without saying that contemporary society doesn't believe in "People are like wine, they get better with age".

Levin family has learned that lesson the hard way. Simcha (Sigalit Fuchs in a superb performance) is a 35-year-old overweight woman, living alone, in financial and mental destitute. The closest thing she has to a romantic relationship is a fling with a married salesman who gives her the caring and attention one would give to life partners that are, how shall I put it, Inflatable.

To make matters worse, Simcha has to watch her withering parents, living right next to the airport and losing every shred of respect and mutual fondness after 35 years of marriage. To add salt to injury, the father, Yitzhak (Yossi Polak) is betrayed not only by his friends from the past but by his own aging body from the present. His wife, Chaya (Rivka Michaeli) who grew to be a cynical and bitter person, spends the best part of her days listening to the Flight arrivals and departures from the Ben Gurion Airport. Even Gil, the "prodigy" son of the family, finds himself "let go" from the High-Tech company he works in. For various reasons, Gil can't find it in his heart to reveal that neither to his sexually frustrated and childless wife nor to his family that, for the lack of a better candidate, put Gil on pedestal.

Definitely not the kind of movies that Sean Connery stars in.

This nightmare-like routine lingers until Simcha sees in a reality do-good type of show, the opportunity to set things right for her family and maybe for herself. Her scheme is to use the TV show to reunite her parents with their estranged friends (over an incident we are oblivious to, most of the film). In the meantime, Simcha finds in an eccentric mime the soul mate to share her loneliness with.

Eccentricity is the defining characteristic of the film. By "eccentricity", I don't mean the little quirkiness we all hone in one degree or another, I mean the out of whack fringe people you see normally at Todd Solondz films. This quirkiness benefits some of the scenes by exposing the human frailty of Simcha and Gil but in other scenes, that very same quirkiness alienates the story from those who watch it.

That, as well as the slightly inconclusive ending, are the only drawbacks of the film and they barely tarnish the resonance of the film and its added value. Added value that is attained by the high nuance acting by all parties involved, the well constructed (although not perfect) script and mostly, by the skilled direction of Julie Shles. Shles shows us the human side of the characters not by embellishing their harsh reality but by demonstrating that its their love of life that elevates them above the unfortunate circumstances of existence. The existence of living a life that are a far cry from the ones imagined which most of the time is not as tragic as it sounds but in times, let's face it, it is.

9 out of 10 in my FilmOmeter.

One final remark. The names of the characters (Yitzhak, Simcha, Gil etc.) are all Hebrew names meaning Joy, Happiness and other "gaily" words, in complete contrast to the state of mind of the characters themselves. This choice was deliberate, according to the director and it what helps to accentuate their contradictory nature. I hope that the translated versions of the film will be allowed the liberty of name altering so the irony won't be lost in the screenings abroad.

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