WORKING WOMAN

WORKING WOMAN (ISHA OVEDET)

(director/writer: Michal Aviad; screenwriters: Sharon Azulay Eyal, Michal Vinik; cinematographer: Daniel Miller; editor: Nili Feller; cast: Liron Ben Shlush (Orna), Menashe Noy (Benny), Oshri Cohen (Ofer, Orna’s husband), Irit Sheleg (Leah, Orna’s mother), Dorit Lev-Ari (Sari, Benny’s wife), Gilles Ben-David (Mr. Benayoun), Corinne Hayat (Mrs. Benayoun); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Ayelet Kait, Amir Harel; Kino Lorber/Zeitgeist Films; 2018-Israel-in Hebrew and French with English subtitles)

“An excellent no-nonsense drama.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An excellent no-nonsense drama by the Israeli feminist filmmaker Michal Aviad (“Invisible”/”Women/Pioneers”) about a sincere woman facing sexual harassment at the workplace and trying to keep a job she desperately needs without giving in to the boss’s sexual advances. It’s credibly co-written by Aviad, Sharon Azulay Eyal and Michal Vinik, about a familiar societal problem that will resonate with both contemporary and older generations from all over the world.Though offering nothing new to say about sexual abuse in the office, the timely sympathetic #MeToo age message should be welcomed by a large part of the public.

The thirtysomething Orna (Liron Ben Shlush) is a mother of three young children in Tel Aviv. Her loving hubby Ofer (Oshri Cohen) is struggling to maintain a small restaurant he opened 4 months ago, where he also is the chef. To help out with some needed income Orna finds work as an assistant with the successful real estate developer Benny (Menashe Nov), her former superior officer when she was in the Israeli army. She works with the married man trying to sell luxury condominium apartments with a view of the sea, in the firm’s Rishon project. Her ability to close sales gets her a promotion and a raise.

On a business trip to Paris she must fight off the unwanted sexual advances of her smoothie boss. The uncomfortable Orna is put in an awful position of working for someone she no longer trusts or quitting and getting a poor recommendation from him so any other job in the field would be difficult to get. In the end she must learn how to fight back on her own to maintain her self-worth.

The intense and appealing performance by Liron Ben Shlush delivers a message that many women in the workforce wish to hear. It clues us in that sexual predators in the workforce with power can make life miserable for vulnerable women, especially those without support. Aviad’s contrived but happy ending finds a way out for the heroine to survive her plight, as she is re-energized to go from unnerved by her boss to at last becoming defiant.

REVIEWED ON 12/2/2019  GRADE: B  https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/ 

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