Hadas Yaron (left) and Renana Raz can’t Fill The Void.
FILL THE VOID (Rama Burshtein). 90 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (June 21). For venues and times, see Movies, page 79. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Fill The Void is a modest character study about an 18-year-old girl trying very hard to help her family through a tragic loss. It just happens to be set entirely within Tel Aviv's Orthodox Jewish community, which changes the dynamic a little.
Shira (Hadas Yaron, who looks uncannily like Greta Gerwig) wants nothing more than to be married to a nice young man, but her plans are put on hold when her older sister dies in childbirth and the family tries to figure out how to move forward in the wake of the tragedy.
Eventually, the widowed Yochay (Yiftach Klein) decides he should remarry, and a match with a woman he knows in Belgium is discussed. Shira's mother (Irit Sheleg) cannot imagine her grandson moving away, and suggests Shira consider stepping up instead.
Orthodox Jewish audiences will obviously enjoy seeing their culture and language presented in a respectful way, but not much actually happens onscreen.
The movie's dramatic aspects feel awfully forced. Burshtein uses her characters' faith as a trap, offering no happy exit from the tragedy she's created. This isn't a documentary, after all, but a work of fiction - and a fairly rote one at that.