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
The movie is beautiful and sometimes quite self-conscious about it, settling into a sequence of many set pieces each of which seems to make a point of its own until remembering them all (to see how they're relevant later on) becomes quite a chore, at least for a bear of little brain like me. There is not much dramatic impetus driving the film along, except that at one point the War of Independence carries the action with its start, middle, and end. What keeps the audience in its seat is more the poetry of the visuals and the thoughtfulness of the text than any great tension or suspense from moment to moment.
A juvenile actor in a major role is always a challenge. In this case, the kid certainly doesn't spoil the movie, but he doesn't make the scenes his own either. His looks don't proclaim him to be the naive and sensitive outsider he's supposed to be; in fact his looks aren't distinctive at all, and a single child actor is used for too many years of plot. (At the start he's behaving too much younger than he looks.)
The narrator explains in retrospect that the Arabs and Jews of Palestine would have got along fine if only they had understood they were all fellow victims of Europe. The proposition is questionable in the light of the current war of civilizations, but coming from writer Amos Oz it is a mercifully mild example of his kooky politics and we're lucky the film contains nothing worse. Natalie Portman was allowed to make Oz' book into a melancholy elegy that resembles a walk through a beautiful but exhaustingly large museum. Item after item. "It was nice," I said to my wife afterward. "It was, but toward the end I was just waiting for it to finish," she replied.
17 of 26 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this