Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

"Although the thrust of the film focuses on the couple's foibles and relationship, there is also some sly skewering of wider Israeli society." | Photo: Courtesy of London Film Festival

In the good traditions of weddings there is something old, new, borrowed and blue about the second feature from Israeli director Talya Lavie, whose debut Zero Motivation - an enjoyably acidic M*A*S*H like black comedy about Israeli national service - won the top prize at Tribeca but never made it to general release in the UK.

Old, is perhaps too strong a word, but her latest certainly borrows from a fine tradition of films about lovers set over the course of a single day or night, although it leans towards the feisty end of the market occupied by the likes of 2 Days In Paris rather than the more loved up Richard Linklater approach. Newlyweds Eleanor (Avigail Harari) - her red shoes a hint of fireworks to come - and Noam (Ran Danker) have just arrived at their palatial honeymoon suite on a cloud of loved-up bliss - "You're so sweet, Eleanor tells him, "I wish someone had stapled us together".. The glow remains undimmed when they temporarily get locked out as they try to re-enact their entry because they forgot the threshold carrying. Something blue is coming, though, when Eleanor discovers a gift from Noam's ex that will send them on a screwball odyssey across Jerusalem as their new lives together come into conflict with a who series of not-quite-reconciled aspects of their past.

Lavie has a way with words and keeps the rapid-fire dialogue coming thick and fast as jealousies and unresolved emotions surface between Eleanor and Noam as they encounter his ex Ronana (Yael Folman) and her ex Michael (Elisha Banai) - in a satirical dig at wannabe political filmmakers everywhere. Before the night is through, Noam will also find himself trying to navigate the semi-smothering relationship he has with his parents, while Lavie takes us dancing to the edge of fantasy in a sequence in which Eleanor has a meet-cute with some presidential bodyguards.

Although the thrust of the film focuses on the couple's foibles and relationship, there is also some sly skewering of wider Israeli society - from references to national service ("I did combat navigation!")  and Jerusalem Syndrome to Eleanor getting an unexpected pat down from those buff bodyguards.

While Lavie retains a decent balance between the two characters, it's obvious that the feisty Eleanor is her first love, putty more staid Noam in the shade, and Harari seizes the enjoyable unpredictability of her character with both hands, retaining sympathetic despite her faults. Not every single encounter the pair have quite adds up but the director pushes the action onwards so breezily that you barely notice, even finding room for a chase sequence before she reaches a satisfyingly sweet conclusion.

Reviewed on: 11 Oct 2020
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Honeymood packshot
Following a fight in their honeymoon suite on the night of their wedding, a bride and groom embark on a surreal urban odyssey through the streets of Jerusalem.

Director: Talya Lavie

Writer: Talya Lavie

Starring: Ran Danker, Avigail Harari

Year: 2020

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: Israel

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