The story of Amos Oz's youth, set against the backdrop of the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. The film details the young man's relationship with his mother and his beginnings as a writer, while looking at what happens when the stories we tell become the stories we live.
Based on the international best-seller by Amos Oz, A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS is the story of his youth, set against the backdrop of the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. The film details the young man's relationship with his mother and his beginnings as a writer, while looking at what happens when the stories we tell, become the stories we live.Written by
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A collection of beautiful parts that don't quite add up to a whole
I wanted to like this. I really did. Natalie Portman's directorial debut taking on an epic Amos Oz novel about his early life set against the tale of the birth of the State of Israel should have been wonderful. Instead, it felt like a series of beautiful cinematic vignettes that didn't quite come together to form a cohesive narrative. The dramatic tension is missing. The motivations of Oz and his mother and father are not explained. A couple of political scenes inserted to give some context -- namely the scene with the Arab girl and her brother, and the scene where the UN vote is being read out -- feel clunky and not well linked to the more personal story being told. If I hadn't come into the movie already having a good grasp of the history of mandatory Palestine and Israel's early years, I feel I would have been totally lost, as so much was glossed over or not really explored. Moreover, the most interesting parts to me were those that explored Amos's relationship with his father, but Portman chose to focus the narrative on his enigmatic, struggling mother -- someone you get the sense that the boy himself never really understood. There are a lot of wonderful scenes here, but they don't really go anywhere. Haval.
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