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Noodle (2007)

 -  Drama  -  26 July 2007 (Israel)
7.3
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At thirty-seven, Miri is a twice-widowed, El Al flight attendant. Her well-regulated existence is suddenly turned upside down by an abandoned Chinese boy whose migrant-worker mother has ... See full summary »

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Title: Noodle (2007)

Noodle (2007) on IMDb 7.3/10

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2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Miri Calderone
BaoQi Chen ...
Noodle
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Izzy Sason
Sinaya Ben-Dor ...
Ilana
...
Mati Gueta
Daphna Shpigelman ...
Batya
Sarit Vino-Elad ...
Dafna
Anat Waxman ...
Gila Sason
Roni Yuria ...
Yaeli
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Storyline

At thirty-seven, Miri is a twice-widowed, El Al flight attendant. Her well-regulated existence is suddenly turned upside down by an abandoned Chinese boy whose migrant-worker mother has been summarily deported from Israel. The film is a touching comic-drama in which two human beings -- as different from each other as Tel Aviv is from Beijing -- accompany each other on a remarkable journey, one that takes them both back to a meaningful life. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

26 July 2007 (Israel)  »

Also Known As:

El pequeño tallarín  »

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A Nutshell Review: Noodle
5 September 2008 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

What would you do if you were to find a child under your custody through no choice of your own, but having it dropped onto your lap? And to make things worse, you cannot communicate with the child because of the lack of language skills both ways? Director Ayelet Menahemi weaved a poignant and heartwarming tale about the bridging of differences and culture, and at its core, a very human story about doing what's right, and the innate goodness everyone possesses in a world without strangers.

Miri (Mili Avital) is a flight attendant with El Al (perhaps one of the most secure and safest airlines in the world) whose life turned upside down with her cleaning lady's son being left in her apartment and failing to return when responding to a phone call. Together with sister Gila (Anat Waxman) and Gila's estranged husband Izzy (Alon Abutbul), they try collectively to figure out exactly what to do with him, with embassies and the authorities being out of the question because of his complicated, illegal status, lest they be burdened with the guilt of his non-return to his mother in a blackbox, bureaucratic process.

In what would at first be confused resentment, nicknaming the child at first as "Mao", that emotion will soon turn into endearment and affection, given that "Mao" would become a proxy to the healing process that would in its own way iron out the vastly complex, dysfunctional relationships between almost everyone in the movie, with envious emotions, jilted ex-boyfriends, and personal tragedy all rolled into one, where it seemed that being in denial of their true emotions was the order of the day. Through the series of zany events experienced through carrying out their humanitarian effort, the characters soon discover their inner strength and courage to face their deficiencies.

It brings to mind that food will probably be one of the greatest levellers and ice-breakers, and in one scene where the child, now nicknamed "Noodle", would share his culture through the simple act of slurping, well, noodles, just demonstrates that. By then, gone is the abandoned boy fearful in a strange world, and in his place is now a confident, assured child that his temporal guardians would figure a way out for him to get home. And Chen BaoQi is a remarkable actor, being able to tug at your heartstrings without going over the top in milking his cute factor. Here's a natural in action, taking on deftly the many facets of his character in a full spectrum of emotions from despair to pure joy.

While the movie might seemed to have hinged heavily on Chen's wonderful performance, let's not forget the other major story arc of the two sisters Miri and Gila, and the host of supporting characters that play a huge part in fleshing out and making the entire movie so rich. In fact, I felt that it had so much going on, that it was quite amazing how director Ayelet Menahemi managed to put them all together without bloating the run time, or to have the sub plots overrun into a rampaging monster. Each character was carefully crafted to have their respective back stories, and you can't help but feel sympathetic for Miri as she locks her heart after being luckless with her love life, in having not 1 but 2 husbands killed in war, being childless and with an obvious growing attachment to the boy, where you know that in doing the right thing, she'll suffer from yet another broken heart from having a man (or boy in this case) walk away from her life. This pain again brought out wonderfully by Mili Avital's very understated acting.

Her school teacher sister Gila's life is equally tragic, as she grapples with a long secret, hiding it under an acerbic tongue and wry sense of humour, in always wanting to have the last word. It's quite common for people to try and mask their insecurities under a bold front, and Anat Waxman's performance here provided much tragic-comic relief in her interactions with the rest of the characters. Essentially the story's quite woman-centric with alpha-type females (or at least on the surface) triumphing over the pretty much wishy-washy male characters played by Alon Abutbul and Yiftach Klein, but it takes a collective effort of everyone to be able to pull off a daring stunt.

It's no wonder that the film had secured that many award nominations in the 2007 Israeli Film Academy, or that it won the Special Grand Prize of the Jury at the 2007 Montreal World Film Festival. Nothing beats having to witness characters grow with one another, in a touching drama where little moments speak volumes from the heart.


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