Finding your true love twelve days before Hanukkah is no more of a miracle than finding him at all.
In The Wedding Plan, an orthodox Jewish woman finds her plans thrown into disarray when your fiancé breaks up with her a month before their wedding date; but she’s not to be deterred and with a month to go, she decides to move forward with all the plans and trust God to provide a groom by the day of the wedding. It’s a great screwball premise and Burshtein finds a lot of humor in the situation, but the film is far from a pure comedy; it’s also an exploration of loneliness, isolation, hope & faith. Burshtein’s previous film, Fill the Void, was also a film that revolved around marriage in the Orthodox community and it was a gutwrenching masterpiece. In this film, she’s lightened the mood a whole lot, but the nuance is still there. A lot of this is down to a genuinely great performance from Noa Koler in the lead; she’s able to hit every emotional beat with absolute precision and she’s the beating heart at the center of this movie. If we find her too ridiculous, the drama doesn’t work; if we find her too pathetic, the comedy doesn’t work. But we find her perfect and everything works. There’s a fine supporting cast too. Of special note is Oz Zehavi as a callow, but incredibly charismatic pop star and Irit Sheleg & Dafi Alpern as the main character’s mother & sister, respectively. This movie is really quite an achievement, I think. I laughed out loud several times and walked out with a smile on my face, but it earns every ounce of happiness it gets by not flinching when it comes to the doubt and fears of the main character. It’s a movie about the struggle to have faith and hope; it openly expresses that faith and hope can both give us great joy during difficult times and also come close to wrecking us when we see them frustrated again and again. No spoilers from me, but, while some might see the ending as trite, I found it to be absolutely earned and to ring very true. Burshtein is a fantastic talent and I look forward to seeing what she does next. Fill the Void was her debut and it was magnificent; she’s done a lot more than just avoid the sophomore slump with The Wedding Plan. She’s slam-dunked another evocative, brilliant masterpiece. 4 stars.
tl;dr – film effortlessly balances comedy and drama as it explores faith, hope, loneliness and joy; an astonishing lead performance from Noa Koler holds everything together perfectly. 4 stars.