‘The Other Story’ Review: Thwarting a Marriage to Save the Family
“The Other Story,” an unwieldy but reasonably compelling Israeli drama from the director Avi Nesher, recalls the old Jewish joke about how two disputing parties can’t both be right. (Or can they?) Given the complexity of the tensions the movie deals with — between religious Jews and secular Israelis, and between secular Israelis and other religions — perhaps its thematic murkiness is a feature, not a bug.
The story revolves around Anat (Joy Rieger), a newly ultra-Orthodox young woman who is preparing to marry a musician, Shahar (the singer Nathan Goshen). In the recent past, they were a secular couple; Shahar, a pop star and a drug user, took her into his world. He then brought Anat along when he became religious, a choice that her nonreligious paternal grandfather, Shlomo (Sasson Gabai), views as a rejection of his values. Her mother, Tali (Maya Dagan), imagines that the rift between her and her daughter will only grow once children are born.
So they summon Anat’s father, Yonatan (Yuval Segal), from the United States. Like Shlomo, he is a psychologist. He also represents a last chance at getting through to Anat, who hates him for neglecting her in childhood. (That the match could be good is a moot proposition.)
Had it stayed within this family dynamic, “The Other Story” might have been more coherent. But the addition of a parallel couple complicates matters. Yonatan, already sabotaging an impending marriage, intervenes in the divorce of two of Shlomo’s patients, one of whom (Avigail Harari) is involved in a potentially dangerous cult.
Is the danger simply a matter of perspective — of hearing the other side’s story? The surfeit of subplots muddles the message.
The Other Story
Not rated. In Hebrew, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 52 minutes.