An outstandingly good film. The director tackles the bitter Israel-Palestinian conflict by focusing on how it impinges on one Arab widow (the wonderful Hiam Abbass) who tries to scrape a living from her grove of lemon trees. Her new neighbour, who unfortunately for her is the Israeli defence minister and his wife, is advised by his security goons that the next door lemon grove constitutes a security risk, and an order is given for its chopping down. The widow decides against all odds to fight the decision, eventually taking it all the way to the Supreme Court.
The great merit of this film lies in the way the political theme, interesting enough on its own, is entwined with private dramas going on in the lives of the widow, the lawyer she engages to fight her case, and the minister's wife who is brought to perceive the human cost of a political decision in which she is implicated. These interlinked public and private themes are delicately handled, with just the right amount of weight being given to each.
Hiam Abbass, who I thought was the best thing about the same director's earlier The Syrian Bride, here shines even more brightly. She gives a wonderfully subtle portrayal of a woman who resists pressure from all sides, including from overbearing male interests, to give in and conform. Against the odds and her natural temperament, she turns her small act of revolt into one symbolic of every individual fighting for justice against overweening authority. This is great acting.