NOODLE (Ayelet Menahemi, Israel). 90 minutes. Subtitled. Saturday (May 3), 9:30 pm, Bloor; Monday (May 5), 8:30 pm, Sheppard Grande. Rating: NNN
Adults bonding with kids who’ve been foisted upon them is not exactly a new premise. But this Israeli entry kicking off the Jewish Film Festival gives the concept a cool tweak.
Flight attendant Miri (Mili Avital) gets stuck with a six-year-old boy (Chen BaoQi) when her Chinese cleaner gets deported. The young boy doesn’t speak any Hebrew, and that, combined with Miri’s undeveloped mothering skills, makes connecting a big problem.Miri decides to help the boy, called Noodle because she can’t figure out his real name, by smuggling him to China on her next flight to Beijing.
If you’re at all a nervous traveller who counts on top-notch security at the airport, the plan might be a little disconcerting to watch. But Miri’s relationship with her crabby sister is very real, and Chen’s performance is amazing. He can express immense emotion just by saying “Oh.”