The Israeli film, The Wedding Plan, was originally titled Through the Wall, a reference to the main character Michal (Noa Kolar) stating that her determination to get married is like that of a karate chop: if you believe 100%, your hand will break through the wall. But the original title also has another meaning in the Orthodox Jewish community; for there is a wall that divides men and women in holy spaces, such as at Rabbi Nachman’s tomb in the Ukraine where Michal’s desperate cries are heard on the other side of a dividing wall by Yoss (Oz Zehavi), a pop singer who may be a suitable romantic suitor.
Michal wants to get married very badly. She desires love and companionship, tired of being alone after ten years of unsuccessful dating. She wants people to respect her for having someone in her life, and not humiliate her for being an old maid at 32. She wants stability. When she has plans to marry Gidi (Erez Drigues), they fall through. He says he doesn’t love her. Still, Michal is committed to be wed, and asks Shimi (Amos Tamam) to hold the wedding hall for her marriage in 22 days. She just needs to find a groom. She believes, in her heart, that God will help her.
And so The Wedding Plan becomes Michal’s quest to find a husband. She meets a man (Udi Persi) who does not look at her, and another who is deaf (Jonathan Rosen). She has a brief, intense encounter with Yoss, and her honesty touches him. But then one of Michal’s two matchmakers sets her up with Assaf (Oded Leopold), a man who may be “the one.”
Who Michal will marry—if she even does get married—forms the dramatic (and comic) tension in writer/director Rama Burshtein’s engaging film. If the pacing is not as urgent as Michal’s need to be wed, nevermind. The film shows some perceptive observations on the intricacies of marriage and relationships albeit through the lens of a single-minded single woman who reacts to a series of bombshells, proposals, and flirtations. As her friends and suitors force Michal to articulate and recalibrate what she wants from her life and a husband, The Wedding Plan becomes quite poignant and emotional. What also makes the film so winning is the radiant Noa Koler’s ingratiating performance. Viewers will believe in her, even if she doesn’t always believe in herself. Watching Koler’s expressions change from self-doubt to a smile is quite magical.
In support, the dreamy singer Oz Zehavi is showcased well, both on stage and off, and Amos Tamam has some fine comedic moments as the skeptical wedding caterer.
The Wedding Plan may sound like a half-baked scheme from a desperate single woman, but in Burshtein and Koler’s hands, the film provides both heart and smarts.
The Wedding Plan open today at the Ritz East theater.
Author: Gary M. Kramer
Gary M. Kramer is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer. He is the co-editor of Directory of World Cinema: Argentina. Volumes 1 and 2, and teaches seminars at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute. Follow him on Twitter @garymkramer.