27 April 2016 | cinemacy
'Wedding Doll' is a delicate story about finding love and independence
Writer/Director Nitzan Gilady's charming film Wedding Doll won audiences over at the Jerusalem Film Festival and the Ophir Awards (Israeli Oscars), taking home the top honors of 'Best Actress' and 'Best Film', respectively, among others. Today, the festival favorite will hit screens stateside and is sure to attract American audiences with rising star Moran Rosenblatt's phenomenal performance of a mildly handicapped woman who wants to fall in love.
25-year-old Hagit (Rosenblatt) dreams of her wedding day, anticipating the moment she will put on the iconic white dress that she's become obsessed with- magazine cutouts of gowns and brides cover her bedroom walls like boy band posters from the 90's. However, Hagit doesn't realize her fairy tale romance may never come to fruition because of her mild mental handicap, making her dependent on her mother's help for many everyday tasks. When she is not under constant supervision of her mother Sara (Assi Levy), Hagit works in a small factory manufacturing and assembling toilet paper packages and makes little wedding dolls out of toilet paper to pass the time. She has become infatuated with her boss's son Omri (Roy Assaf), who happens to be the only other person working at the factory. They strike up a friendship, but she perceives it is much more. When the factory realizes it needs to shut it's doors for good, Hagit's desire for independence and quest to find true love is pushed further than she may be capable of understanding.
Rosenblatt embodies Hagit with such detail, nailing every quirky trait no matter how small. Her reactions to being called 'weirdo' and 'goofy' are understated, but we see the sharp pangs of pain etched on her face. But this isn't just Hagit's story, it is as much that of her mother, Sara, as we see her struggle to keep a job as a hotel housekeeper, as well as the relentless responsibility of being Hagit's sole parental guardian while trying to also have a love life. Sara attempts to do all three, but as a result of biting off more than she can chew, does none of them well. Assi Levy plays Sara with the necessary confidence to allow audiences to trust her choices, yet with a strain of vulnerability that evokes sympathy for her.
Not only does Wedding Doll nail the performances, the cinematography is just as engaging. Set in the desert on the outskirts of the city, the aesthetic is rich in color and incorporates various textures as well; the abundance of stone, tile, water, and paper make for a pallet any artist would envy.
Wedding Doll runs at a swift 80 minutes and thankfully, never feels rushed. Every scene is engaging and there is purpose and value in every moment. Gilady has managed to trim the fat and delivers a sleek and concise coming-of-age love story that is far more unique than others of recent production.
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