3 December 2010 | mbs
i'm with the too slow too slight guy
Nora's Will has a good solid premise, a very good leading actor who does what he can with both the character and the screenplay, a pretty involving beginning and such a good grasp of the Jewish religion's burial rituals that it almost feels mean to say anything negative about it. Truthfully i didn't really find it funny so much as gently, wryly amusing, and even then not as much as it could've been. Also the pacing of the film is a wee bit on the slow side. It almost feels like a stage play in part.
If you go in thinking this is going to be a straight up comedy...you'll be disappointed as its definitely more of a drama with some lightly humorous moments scattered throughout. Story is pretty basic--Man who's been separated from his wife for the last 15 years walks into her apt and finds her dead triggering many unhappy flashbacks of their time together, many unhappy family reunions, and many grimaces by the grieving man as his family is trying to honor his ex wife's wishes to be buried in a religious way. A lot of the humor stems from the man's willful and stubborn refusal to honor her requests in any way...and his attempts to belittle the rabbi and the religious ceremony that she wants to be a part of in death also come into play.
Its a semi cute film but it not uproarious (in fact its quite downbeat and even rather depressing in spots)...but even worse is that it doesn't really go anywhere either. Eventually the man sort of comes around and accepts her death, and does what he can to help her wishes after refusing to honor her for the running time of the film. That's more or less it in terms of plot. Character development is unfortunately equally thin as we learn about the various horrible things his ex wife pulled on her husband when they were married...but they loved each other overall, and its sad that she's no longer there to bug him of course, etc.
Film manages to stay on the watchable side thanks in no small part to the lead actor who manages to make his character's crabbiness somewhat appealing (and quite understandable once we've witnessed the flashbacks) Film has some solid supporting characters esp in the daffy actress who plays the ex wife's sister, but everyone who's not the main character is a little bit left out as its really the husband's movie.