A Tale of Love and Darkness

A Tale of Love and Darkness ★★★½

Natalie Portman’s labor of love is a delicate drama about the birth of the Israeli state as seen through the eyes of a child in late 1940s Jerusalem, of young Amos Oz who went on to become one of the country’s most influential writers as well as a proponent of the two-state solution. This is a very impressive and self-assured directorial outing by the actress, demonstrating a keen eye on detail and knowledge of history. She also shows a high degree of empathy when portraying Islamic-Jewish relations within the story. In addition to directing, Portman plays Amos Oz’s troubled mother, a frail but loving woman who went on a downward spiral of depression because of the events transpiring around her. I was irked, though, by some of the contrivances in her character arc, but thankfully Portman downplays much of the sentimentality. Anyway, this is quite a pleasant surprise and I’d really love to see more of director Natalie Portman in the future.

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