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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 November 2013
"Fill the Void" (2012 release from Israel; 90 min.) brings a very intimate look into the world of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community. As the film opens, we get to know Shira, an 18 year old woman who is keeping her eyes open about her marriage options (she secretly has her eyes on a young man whom she meets from afar in the dairy section of the grocery store). We also get to know Shira's older sister Esther, who is nine months pregnant with her first-born and due any minute. Then disaster strikes and Esther dies in labor, leaving a big void to fill in the lives of her loved ones: her sister Shira, her mother, and of course her husband Yochay, not to mention the new-born baby. It's not long thereafter that Yochay is contemplating offers for a new marriage, including one from Belgium, as well as one from Frieda, a friend of Shira's and Esther's, and also Shira herself at the insistence of Shira's and Esther's mother. At this point we are only about 30 minutes into the movie. What will Yochay decide to do? To tell you more would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: first and foremost, this film is a labor of love from writer-director Rama Burshtein, who seemingly has poured her heart and soul into bringing this film to life, and with great results. Second, we get a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community as never before. At no time do the characters feel forced or over the top, but instead they feel so authentic that at several times during the movie I was wondering if these were actors, or real-life ultra-Orthodox people. Third, kudos to Hadas Yaron in the role of Shira and also Yiftach Klein in the role of Yochay, as they bring fantastic performances, in particular Yaron as the young/vulnerable/confused Shira is just superb. This film was Israel's entry for Best Foreign Movie in this year's Oscar nominations, and it's easy to see why.

Bottom line: "Fill the Void" is a very moving family drama that just happens to be set in the ultra-Orthodox community of Tel Aviv. I will admit I was moved to tears on several occasions while watching this. This film opened in July at my local art-house theatre here in Cincinnati and I am glad to tell you that the screening I saw this at was quite well attended. Meanwhile, "Fill the Void" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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on 30 December 2015
Very touching drama, inside a cultural world very different from ours. A very interesting insight into the world of the Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel. I enjoyed it very much, and learned a lot too. A wonderful film for everyone sincerely interested in other cultures and religions.
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on 21 January 2015
There are few films which shine a positive light on the world of the Charadi (ultra Orthodox Jewish) community and this is one of them. It deals sympathetically with all the characters involved in the prospective marriage of the main character, Shira. Despite this, it is not a sugary portrayal of this community as it continually makes you ask questions throughout the film, a sign of a great film.
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on 3 May 2015
Stunningly beautiful (and accurate!) portrayal of a Chassidic family and the drama in their lives. No potshots or political points. Just a touching story, well told and amazingly acted. I can't recommend this film enough.
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on 19 February 2014
Sensitively directed. The Acting is beautiful, and one is left with a feeling that in the end love soes perhaps come ahead of duty.
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VINE VOICEon 10 August 2014
Marriage has fallen a long way down in Western culture.However,it’s a surprise when we find it treated with the reverence of an orthodox Jewish community in Tel Aviv,written and directed by a member of that community,Rama Burstein,who wrote and directed it.This is about an arranged marriage in the Haredi tradition,a way of cementing social order.The film opens with Shira(Hadras Yaron),daughter of Rabbi Aharon,accompanied by her mother Rivka(Irit Sheleg) to glimpse a prospective young husband in a supermarket.The fact of marriage is presented as a source of joy,not romantic love or sexual attraction.Shira glows with the prospect of union with the solemn stranger chosen for her.Shira shares her joy with her pregnant older sister Esther and Esther’s husband,Yochay(Yiftak Klein).

The director has left open through a form of comic suggestion that the female is not obliged to accept the suggestions of parents and Rabbis:women are pressured to make the decision at the right time,but the decision of whom to marry is theirs.Esther dies giving birth to a son,Mordechai.It is announced that plans are afoot for Yochay to remarry,which will mean him moving to Belgium with Mordechai.Rivka suggests he might marry Shira instead.Yochay is far better-looking than the man she would have married, and he’s a romantic and tender soul,however he has a child and has been married before.There is a kind of chemistry between him and the soft-spoken, accordion-playing Shira.There are scenes between the two where there is a conflict between erotic desire and truthfulness and duty,with the former winning out.The film is finely acted,Sudri’s cinematography creates a distinctive and seductive visual style,with shallow focus,low angles and highly composed groupings.Worth a look for fans of Jane Austen.
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on 15 August 2015
A very moving film in which the human experience was conveyed in all its complexity. Love, loss, and more importantly the tension between ones own conflicting desires are beautifully explored. In some ways, the setting of an observant religious community is essential to the theme, in others ways it fades into the background as the inner world is given its true precedence. A lovely performance by the heroine as she fights with her growing sexual feelings. I could relate to Jane Austen's work as the film is often compared in this way. I think she makes a similar point about the best marriages needing to be both sensible matches and love matches.
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on 11 May 2014
Really enjoyable and insightful into the community. Excellent acting by the whole cast. A gentle love story set in Tel Aviv.
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on 29 June 2015
Fantastic! Emotional and touching. For those who never understand the beauty of seeing or being truly orthodox Jewish. The world must not take them for granted. Watch to find out why!
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on 21 July 2015
Interesting and enjoyable film. Good acting . For me a very fascinating insight into the life of Hassidic jews in Tel A Viv.
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