Film Review: THE WEDDING PLAN (Israel 2016)

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the_wedding_plan.jWhen her fiancé bows out on the eve of her wedding, Michal refuses to cancel the wedding arrangements. An Orthodox Jew, she insists that God will supply her a husband. As the clock ticks down.

Director: Rama Burshtein
Writer: Rama Burshtein
Stars: Dafi Alferon, Noa Koler, Oded Leopold

Review by Gilbert Seah 

THE WEDDING PLAN is not the first film where the female protagonists decides she should get married and then starts to find a suitable groom. Eric Rohmer’s 1982 comedy of manners LE BEAU MARIAGE share the same premise.

In the Israel film THE WEDDING PLAN, Michal (Noa Kooler) at the age of 32, is finally looking forward to the comfort and security of marriage. But unexpectedly, she has just been ditched by her fiancé. No total fault of the fiancé. Michal practically scares him away from the alter from her obsessiveness for answers, showing her to be a control freak, something no man can tolerate.

THE WEDDING PLAN is that rare comedy that examines the anxieties arising from a marriage. Most wedding comedies are romantic comedies that mostly assume that everything is perfect once the wedding takes place. But as writer/director Rama Burshtein (FILL THE VOID) demonstares, this is often not the case. One is settling down with a total stranger, and each would want their own way, and both do not want to be controlled.

After being ditched (in a comical yet believable way in which the audience both feels for Michal despite her part blame), she decides to book the wedding hall in 28 days and then find a groom. Being a Jewish film, religion plays a big part. Michal convinces herself that marriage is the best thing for her and why would not God want the best thing for her. Good reasoning, but what unfolds might not be directly what she think’s God plan is.

Unwilling to return to lonely single life, Michal decides to put her trust in fate and continue with her wedding plans, believing Mr. Right will appear by her chosen date. Confident she will find a match made in heaven, she books a venue, sends out invitations and buys a wedding dress, as her skeptical mother and sister look on with trepidation. During Michal’s month-long search for a spouse, she enlists the help of two different matchmakers, goes on a series of disastrous blind dates and finds an unexpected connection with a charming but utterly unsuitable pop star — all while dismissing pleas by concerned friends and family members that she reconsider her risky plan. As the day of the ceremony grows closer and no suitor appears, Michal puts everything on the line to find happiness.

The success of the film rests on the performance of lead actress Noa Kooler. She delivers sincere and heartfelt performance that many will sympathize with, as many would likely be in the same boat as Michal.
The trouble with the film is its last 20 minutes. At that point, it becomes obvious who she will marry. Burshtein’s film also becomes annoyingly manipulative. Everything Michal does is fine and everything works too conveniently well towards her big wedding day. There is a family song and dance that is so awfully coy that it is unbearable to watch.

Like most romantic comedies with female protagonists, THE WEDDING PLAN is clearly a chick flick and one with religion thrown in. THE WEDDING PAN eventually lies on the list of forgettable Hollywood romantic comedies.



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