Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem ★★★★

Marriage and religion are but mere institutions. Love is just an idea. And free will? Perhaps it is inevitable, perhaps only an illusion.

While I appreciated Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz's Golden Globe-nominated film more than I loved it, there's much to appreciate. Vaguely reminiscent of two of my favorite films - Rashomon (1950) and 12 Angry Men (1957) - Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem is set almost exclusively in a Rabbinical courtroom, as the title character (also Ronit Elkabetz) simply seeks an end to her relatively undramatic marriage of many years. While trapped in that drab white setting with a script that seems more suited for the stage, the distinctiveness of the directors' cinematic conveyance emerges in terms of point of view - sometimes overt (the first shot of the film as Viviane's husband looks over at us), sometimes more subtle (a glance down at Viviane's exposed leg after a man testifies). And although the narrative saunters a few too many times between tragedy and farce, it also just manages to transcend a very specific and narrow indictment of the sexist Israeli judicial system to expose the broader clashes between those aforementioned institutions, ideas, inevitabilities, and illusions.

Report this review

Steven liked these reviews