Review by Mark Merrell
Coming to grips with death is collection of curious circumstance. Experts will tell you it takes on the mask of several personalities, one just as strong as the next, even if it’s a complete opposite of previous emotional moment. In the Jewish faith, the week of mourning following the burial is referred to as a, Shiva, when family members gather in the home of the deceased, and receive visitors.
Vicky (Evgenia Dodina, The Attack, Made in Israel) and Eyal (Shai Avivi, Atomic Falafel, Sweet Mud, Epilogue) have lost their son, Ronnie. They live in Israel, and belong to the Jewish faith. The movie opens in the seventh day of their Shiva. Eyal is in an overly enthusiastic ping pong match with a young boy. He comes upstairs to a household full of people that are in the process of saying goodbye and leaving. Vicky and Eyal are not talking much to each other, and Eyal wants to avoid everyone, while Vicky is cordial, but agitated.
Directed and written by Asaph Polonsky (Ritch-Ratch, In Bed at 10 PM, Samnang), he lets the film find it’s own path, as we follow the Eyal as he finds himself at the hospice a few times, and Vicky, as she does her own thing, putting up with some very erratic behavior from Eyal. Their next door neighbors Rafael, (Uri Gavriel, The Dark Knight, Kingdom) Karen, (Carmit Mesilati Kaplan, Sashenka, Next to Her) and their son, Zooler (Tomer Kapon, A Tail of Love and Darkness, Wedding Doll) are a dynamic household. Eyal enlists Zooler, a kind hearted boy, a few years older than their late son, to help him with a project, and that sets the pair on a misadventure.
Every time things seem to be settling down for Vicky and Eyal, allowing them to take a collective pause, something or someone keeps interrupting their short lived peace. The film is sad at times, but it’s also interlaced with just the right amount light hearted moments as well.
One Week and a Day is a very effective, well written, special, and charismatic, but not overdone. Evgenia and Shia hold the screen equally, and effectively. You feel completely comfortable with them as they appear to be with themselves, with an undeniable chemistry between the two. Tomer, who plays it cool and close to the vest early on, truly turns it up a notch, opening up his character to the audience, and he pulls it off with perfection.
One Week and a Day is a movie with a truly good heart and soul, thanks to its cast, writer/director. Be sure not to miss this movie. You and your heart will be glad you did.
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