23 October 2011 | Nozz
A familiar motif, but this fine version came first
Yigal is impressed with the talent of his son's music teacher at the piano, and he asks why she didn't set about making much more of herself in the world. "I wasn't good enough," she says. It's an admirable line. Besides giving evidence of modesty, it hints that there is warmth and emotion inside her that, since she will not be channeling it into musical creativity, Yigal might release from her in a romantic relationship. Unfortunately, she already has a husband. The "wasn't good enough" pianist and the obstructive husband will be more familiar to Israeli audiences from "Restoration," a more recent film from one of the same writers, Erez Kav-El. And oddly, the character of Yigal-- a man of no great accomplishment whose discomfort with his own timidity drives him to seek professional help, and who then tries to pry himself out of timidity with the help of a woman who, he then discovers, cannot become his companion as readily as he'd hoped-- will remind viewers exactly of Meir the meek librarian in the movie "The Matchmaker." The same actor, Dror Keren, must have started work as Meir almost the moment he finished playing Yigal in this movie. But the relationship is a mere subplot in those two more prominent movies, and it is the core of this one. Dror Keren arouses great sympathy. The music teacher he loves is enigmatic, and sufficiently beautiful without being unrealistic. Her husband is no pushover, but (unlike the one in "Restoration," where the same plot goes by more sketchily) he is no ogre either. For Anglophone viewers who are sticklers, there is one disappointment in this otherwise charming and affecting movie. In one scene, a letter comes in from the Canadian embassy and is briefly visible on the screen, and it is woefully obvious that the filmmakers did not want to spend ten dollars-- or thought it wasn't important anyway-- to have the letter typed by someone who actually knows English.