×

Film Review: ‘She Is Coming Home’

Further fest play seems likely for this abrasive feminist drama from debuting writer-helmer Maya Dreifuss.

With:

Tali Sharon, Alon Aboutboul, Liora Rivlin, Eli Cohen.

A break-up with her boyfriend triggers a temporary return to the parental nest for a thirtysomething wannabe filmmaker in “She Is Coming Home” an abrasive feminist drama from debuting Israeli writer-helmer Maya Dreifuss. The idea of making a character relive and recuperate from her past experience is a bold one, but the protagonist’s conduct is so angry and so unlikable that it becomes difficult to take a rooting interest in her situation. Kudos for first feature, actress and cinematography at the recent Jerusalem fest (albeit in a weak competition lineup) should spur further fest play.

The action starts with a literal bang as the irresponsible behavior of drinking/driving/texting Michal (convincingly played as a ticking time bomb by Tali Sharon) causes an accident. After Zev (busy thesp Alon Aboutboul), a handsome older man returning from military reserve duty, hits her car from behind, he winds up driving her — along with her bags and considerable emotional baggage — to her parents’ cramped apartment in Herzliya, a Tel Aviv suburb.

It’s immediately clear that Michal and her parents have a severely dysfunctional relationship. Her ditsy mother (Liora Rivlin) drinks too much and plays passive-aggressive tricks, like putting salt in the sugar bowl and making unexpectedly cutting but on-the-nose remarks. And although it’s never spelled out, there are hints that Michal and her dad (Eli Cohen) once had an incestuous relationship.
Michal also seems to have an eating disorder that’s been exacerbated by her homecoming. Exerting some sort of perverse control, she refuses to sit down at the table with her parents to eat, but indulges in ravenous pig-outs from the fridge by night. Instead of working on her screenplay, she reverts to the behavior of a self-centered adolescent. When she’s not sleeping — or sleeping with some youth that she drunkenly drags home — she’s pursuing the married Zev, who turns out to be the principal at her former high school. Many years ago, Michal may have been a dream daughter: smart, dutiful and uncomplaining. But she now takes advantage of this return to her roots to play the rebel, acting out in every way possible.
While the feminist crowd may find it empowering the way Michal explores and takes ownership of the shameful moments that many women experience, others will lose their patience with this not-particularly-sympathetic protagonist long before the 90-minute running time is up. Still, to its credit, Dreifuss’ screenplay forces audiences to continually reconsider their feelings about all of the characters.

Edgy, in-your-face lensing by Shai Peleg captures the tense energy of the narrative and performances, while cutting by Ronit Porat doesn’t shy from the confrontational.

Dreifuss, a professor of screenwriting at Tel Aviv University, worked with lenser Peleg and editor Porat on her two Cinefondation-selected shorts: “Wax Hurts” (2001) and “Visiting Hours” (2005). Impressive thesp Sharon was the star of the latter.

Film Review: 'She Is Coming Home'

Reviewed at Jerusalem Film Festival (competing), July 10, 2013. Running time: 90 MIN. Original title: "Ha-hi she-chozeret ha-baytal"

Production:

(Israel) Produced by Lama Films with the support of the Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts — Cinema Project. Produced by Amir Harel, Ayelet Kait.

Crew:

Directed, written by Maya Dreifuss. Camera (color, HD), Shai Peleg; editor, Ronit Porat; production designer, Shunit Aharoni; costume designer, Natali Sarig: sound, Erez Eini-Shavet, Itai Elohev.

With:

Tali Sharon, Alon Aboutboul, Liora Rivlin, Eli Cohen.

More Film

  • Tarantino Movies Ranked Illustration

    All of Quentin Tarantino's Movies Ranked

    In the history of cinema, has any director done more to elevate the idea of movies as cool than Quentin Tarantino? Certainly, the idea that films could be made by fans dates back at least to the French New Wave, when a group of die-hard critics stepped behind the camera. A few years later, Spielberg, [...]

  • A Stranger on the Beach

    Anonymous Content Wins Film Rights to Michele Campbell's 'A Stranger on the Beach' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Anonymous Content has won the adaptive rights to the forthcoming Michele Campbell novel “A Stranger on the Beach.” In a competitive situation, Anonymous outbid multiple players for the thriller, which it will adapt for the big screen with in-house producers Alex Goldstone and Rosalie Swedlin. “Stranger” has been likened to sensual thrillers like “Fatal Attraction” [...]

  • Ridley Scott Matt Damon Ben Affleck

    Ridley Scott, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Nicole Holofcener Team on 'The Last Duel'

    Ridley Scott looks to have his next directing job, as he has signed on to direct “The Last Duel” with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck attached to star. Damon and Affleck co-wrote the script with Oscar-nominated Nicole Holofcener. Scott, Damon and Affleck all producing along with Scott’s producing partner Kevin Walsh. Drew Vinton is also [...]

  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas Ed Asner Elliott

    Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Ed Asner, Elliott Gould Seek SAG-AFTRA Board Seats

    Ed Asner, Elliott Gould and Jonathan Taylor Thomas are seeking SAG-AFTRA national board seats as members of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Asner is the former president of the Screen Actors Guild, serving two terms from 1981 to 1985, and winning five Emmys for his role as Lou Grant and two others [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor Comic Con

    Comic-Con: Marvel 'Shock and Awe' Strategy Dominates Twitter Buzz

    Disney’s Marvel Studios handily won the hype trophy from this year’s Comic-Con International San Diego. Marvel Studios — which returned to the 2019 Comic-Con stage with a chock-full Phase 4 slate of announcements — dominated the discussion on Twitter out of the convention, capturing the biggest volume of buzz for nine of the top 10 [...]

  • Chris Rock - Netflix

    Chris Rock's 'Saw' Reboot Moves Up Five Months to May 2020

    Lionsgate has moved Chris Rock’s upcoming “Saw” reboot forward by five months to May 15, 2020, vacating the pre-Halloween date of Oct. 23, 2020. The studio indicated Monday that it decided to move the untitled “Saw” movie into the summer slot after seeing early footage from the set of the film currently shooting in Toronto. The move [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content