Societal constraints can sometimes make being a single person, who desires to be partnered, a living nightmare. Whether it’s an emphasis on being too “old,” too “picky,” having (heaven forbid) “high” standards – which too often translates to having any standards at all if you’re of a certain age – the focus on why some women remain single rarely concentrates on one basic concept, time. Contrary to popular culture, I believe that there’s no book that needs to be read, no guideline that needs to be followed, and (for people of faith) not a continuous prayer to be prayed – because it’s God so it was heard the first time, and the 99 plus times thereafter for us impatient people. But the answer to finding and receiving a partner is , “When it’s your time, it will be.”
And though I believe this to be true, I am a die-hard romantic, and lover of all things wedding movie related, so I was intrigued by the title of the film “The Wedding Plan,” and jumped at the opportunity to screen it. What I wasn’t prepared for were the subtitles, it is the second film by American Israeli writer-director Rama Burshtein (Fill the Void) and is in Hebrew, nor it’s style of humor, which I thought was kind of dark even though the film is billed as a romantic comedy. However, I was quickly drawn into the story, and found that it demonstrated how getting married, especially for women, and all the challenges that go along with it are truly universal.
In “The Wedding Plan,” 32-year-old protagonist Michal (Noa Kohler) is dumped by her fiancee a month before the wedding. An Orthodox Jewish woman, who set her original wedding date on the final day of Hanukkah – which commemorates the “great miracle of oil” for believers – Michal decides to go through with her nuptials, hall, gown and all, with only one slight thing missing… a groom, whom she believes will be provided by God and result in a miracle of her own.
With the help of matchmakers, skeptical yet supportive family, her best friends, and a very patient banquet hall owner/coordinator (Amos Tamam), Michal races against time, meets various potentials – including a handsome Israeli musician named Yos (Oz Zehavi) – and remains steadfast in her decision to marry in 30 days, despite the enormous odds against her.
Even though I didn’t laugh as much as I expected, I was entertained by the film and invested in Michal’s journey – one can’t help but root for her to win, especially when it’s revealed why her ex-fiancee left her in the first place (no spoilers, but the reason is really, “really” foul). And Noa Kohler’s portrayal is dynamic – broken and humbled, caring and comforting, brave and determined, and strong and convicted in the span of 11o minutes.
The easy comparison for American audiences might be to reminisce on “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” which was way funnier in my estimation, but the only thing they would have in common really is the drive of the female leads – their unorthodox behaviors to meet their goals – and the fact that the movies are both wedding themed/related. Otherwise, “The Wedding Plan” is a bit more heady and, although the director has pointed out (see “about the production” on the film’s website) that it’s not a religious film, it is one about faith – which I agree surpasses religion. And it is the display of faith by the protagonist, and the effect (both positive and negative) it has on others around her, that I believe makes this movie most endearing and relatable.
One of my favorite lines in the film comes during a conversation between Michal and Yos, with the latter gently reminding her that when it comes to finding the person she is meant to be with, “You are full of light. You don’t have to do anything.” More simply stated, it’s all about timing.
“The Wedding Plan” is playing now in select cities nationwide. Get additional information and watch the trailer at the official website here.
Until next thought, Thomasena