USHPIZIN (Giddi Dar). 90 minutes. Opens Friday (December 2). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Subtitled. Rating: NNN
Moshe ( Shuli Rand ) is broke, his wife ( Michal Bat-Sheva Rand ) is pissed and, with the holidays coming up, he finds himself praying for a miracle to make things right. Easy to identify with, no?
Wait, there's more. They are childless and increasingly doubtful that God will provide for them, either with help or with a baby. A tragically relatable story. Who doesn't know someone in that position?
Now, on top of all that, the unlucky couple has been saddled with uninvited guests. His old friend's come with a pal, both escaped convicts looking for shelter.
Ah, but here's the kicker. Moshe and his wife are Orthodox Jews.
Don't be fooled by the title ("ushpizin" means holy guests). Once you strip the plot down, it's a simple story, well-acted, funny and moving, about the strength of love and the universal need to believe in something.
Yes, there are religious elements that may have skeptics rolling their eyes, and it's not the most exciting story ever told, but the importance of some kind of spiritual search in today's trying times speaks to everyone.