Felix and Meira – a movie review by Toni Susskind

February 8, 2016 by Toni Susskind
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Winner of several International film festivals, including best cinematography, screenplay, actor and actress, Felix and Meira is a thought-provoking movie, set against the backdrop of a tightly knit Hasidic community in modern-day Montreal.

On the surface, the film appears to be a love story between a married Haredi woman who is dissatisfied with the confines of her strictly ruled life and an atheist who is mourning the loss of his father and looking for the meaning of life. However, it is much more than that. Layered with nuances and double meanings, Felix and Meira explores of the ideal of happiness and ultimately poses the question, can self-contentment be achieved through others, or should you find it in yourself first.

Meira (Hadas Yaron), a skilled actress who learnt to speak Yiddish for the film, pushes the boundaries of her claustrophobic world, often listening to soul music when home alone with her infant and regularly taking the contraceptive pill, which is taboo in her society. Played with a quiet depth and an under statedness, the audience feels Meira’s disconnection with life and her yearning to be able to make independent choices for herself and her daughter.

Therefore when Felix (Martin Dubreuil) stumbles across Meira’s path, his initial overtures of friendship are rebuffed, but it does not take long for a friendship to develop. He introduces her to a world that she has always wondered about, a highlight being the wonder she displays when trying on a pair of jeans for the first time.

Shulem (Luzer Twersky), Meira’s mismatched husband and the opposite of Felix, is a man who enjoys immersing himself in the customs and mores of his society. As a result he is unable to understand Meira’s rebelliousness, often telling her that she embarrasses him with her strange ways. In response to his criticisms, she pretends to faint, but he just keeps talking, telling her “I know you are not dead, I can see you breathing.”

Slowly over the course of the film we find that things are not as black as white as they initially appears. Although he constantly censors his wife for her strange behaviour, we see that Luzer secretly admires his wife’s strength and refusal to change merely to fit into their world.

Felix and Meira is a gentle movie that works on the principle of ‘show, don’t tell.’ It allows the audience to create their own meanings and interpretations from the events, whilst building on the characters and their layers. In the end, it is a thought provoking movie and one that stays in your mind well after it ends.
Felix and Meira:

Rated M, 105 minutes

Subtitled

Lido Cinema Glenferrie rd Hawthorn, Melbourne

Rating : 4/5

Release date February 14th

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