Hagit (Moran Rosenblatt) works as a packager in a struggling toilet paper factory. Suffering from a cognitive disability, she lives with her mother Sara (Assi Levy), who sacrifices various aspects of her life in order to be there for her daughter.
What is immediately evident with Wedding Doll is the depth of its small world. The characters’ lives are marked by complex interpersonal relationships that threaten to fall apart at any moment.
In one instance, Wedding Doll is a romantic melodrama, with an established romance that proves to be too precarious for comfort. And yet, the film delves deep enough into character to not come off as mere melodrama. The only characters without depth are the obvious antagonists, who are more cruel than the reality of the rest of the film’s world merits.
Both Rosenblatt and Levy give emotionally stirring performances in the film’s lead roles. Rosenblatt, in particular, embodies her character with a pointed naturalism that is astounding. She carries the movie, transcending whatever semblance of genre convention the film might otherwise suffer from.
What the film really suffers from is the previously mentioned antagonistic forces at play. Where almost all of the characters have a distinct realness to them, the major powers of evil in this film come from unwarrented places. The tonal shifting that results from this antagonistic presence, particularly at the end of the film, steer the narrative to dark places that feel out of place given the film’s endearing set-up.
Wedding Doll does a lot right with its dramatic take on the romance genre. It may do too little with narrative (much of the plot is rooted in cyclical routines that are rarely broken and progress deliberately), but the strength of the characters and their portrayals is enough to keep a viewer engaged regardless. Rosenblatt is ultimately the one to prop the film up, and her acclaim-worthy performance is what sticks in the mind after the credits roll.
As always, thanks for reading!
—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)