8 February 2016 | wrkcwnwnx
Engrossing Drama and Recreates a Time That Was
This film is a success on several levels. First of all, it is an engrossing drama and coming of age story and second it recreates a time and place long gone. The coming of age story involves a 16 year old boy's contact with a warm hearted but slightly sleazy character from his father's youth. Perhaps I related to this young man because I too, at the age of 16, had a similar character in my life. And life after all, is about learning to deal with various situations, some of which have to potential to corrupt you, but all of which are learning experiences. Many films present a story, but do not give you a reason to care about the characters. This film fully develops the characters and, consequently, give you a reason to care about their outcomes. Some reviews have a criticized a sub plot involving a beautiful young women. Really, were you ever a 16 year old boy?. Is it possible to have a story about a 16 year old and not have sex in it?
I also liked the recreation of 1968 Israel, a place and time I never saw even though I was offered a summer kibbutz experience as a 16 year old in 1969. The Hebrew name of the film translates as "Once I was". The Israel of today, which I know well (I learned to speak Hebrew as an adult), is very different, in some ways better and some ways worse. I cannot speak for the authenticity of the recreation, but the film certainly captured some of the major conflicts in the society without ever devolving to into an anti-Israel film.
The original name was a good choice and is more descriptive. Overall, this film is a success as a drama and as an historical essay.