TIFF review: Working Woman (Isha Ovedet)

Israeli director Michal Aviad's film about a woman who's being sexually harassed at work is timely and powerful

WORKING WOMAN (Isha Ovedet) CWC. D: Michal Aviad. Israel. 93 min. Sep 11, 6:15 pm, Scotiabank 2 Sep 13, 9:30 am, TBLB 1 Sep 16, 9:15 am, Scotiabank 1. See listing. Rating: NNNN

The latest from Israeli director Aviad arrives at just the right cultural moment, being an insightful drama about sexual harassment in the workplace, and the power dynamics that trap women in an office with their abusers.

Orna (Liron Ben-Shlush) is a wife and mother of three who takes a job with Benny (Menashe Noy), her old army commander turned aspiring real-estate tycoon. The potential rewards are considerable, but so is the danger: Benny keeps nudging Orna into compromising situations, drawing her back after each offence with promotions and promises of lucrative deals. And slowly but inexorably, the threat level escalates.

Aviad and her co-writers, Sharon Azulay Eyal and Michael Vinik, set this specific relationship against an Israel caught between progressive idealism and swaggering alpha-male entitlement. And Ben-Shlush is riveting as a competent, capable woman coming apart under the constant, smothering stress of a situation she never thought she’d experience.

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