“The Wedding Plan” (“Laavor et hakir”)
In the Hasidic community, marriage is the most important thing in a woman’s life even though she has little to say about the man she marries. In fact, it seems that marriage is to provide social acceptance and companionship and it does not seem that love has anything to do with it. There are marriage brokers for those who need help in finding the right mate and director Rama Burshtein show us here what we need to know about marriage in an insular community.
Michal (Noa Koler) became religious over a decade ago and is about to get married in a month to Gidi (Erez Drigues). However, Gidi suddenly breaks it off sending Michal into an existential crisis. She is determined to get married and she even books Shimi’s (Amos Tamam) catering hall and this means that she has just twenty-two days to find a husband. Michal contacts a marriage broker and has many dates, but as the big day approaches she begins to doubt her faith. You see Hasidic Jews expect God to provide them with a spouse.
This is an Israeli romantic comedy that focuses on an ultra-orthodox Jewish woman’s search for love through her unwavering faith in God. Michal is a 30-something Hasidic Jew who is increasingly frustrated by the aspects of life that she feels excluded from without a husband. Her community pities women over twenty-years-old who are not married and within the Hasidic community there is great respect placed upon companionship, love, children.
When the film begins we Michal in conversation with Hulda (Odelia Moreh-Matalon), a homeopathic practitioner who uses fish innards and bread dough to accent her consultations. Michal’s presence is immediately felt as we see her frustration of being single. Michal decides enough is enough and so she books a wedding hall for the eighth day of Chanukah and places her faith in God to send her a husband. Michal goes on comical dates with unsuitable bachelors, bares her soul to her sisters and then realizes that the man of her dreams was under her nose all along.
Michal’s character is genuine and engaging and Koler portrays her with wonderful conviction and tenacity. At first, we think that this is a film about societal values but it is also about faith and belief.