It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
This might seem strange, but Avi Nesher's "The Matchmaker" reminds me of "Me and Orson Welles" (2009). Both films are about two matchmakers on the prowl for a great new talent. One is about an Israeli matchmaker. The other is about Orson Welles, who wants to find the perfect actor to play young William Randolph Hearst. Let's leave Hearst out of this for the moment.
In Haifa in 1968, matchmaker Yankele Bride (Israeli stand-up comic Adir Miller) makes the strategic error of hiring 16-year-old Arik Burstein (Tuval Shafir). Yankele is full of street wisdom. "You don't know what you want. Yankele knows what you want," he tells his clients.
At night in those years, Yankele ran a shady gambling den with a flashy blond named Clara (Maya Dagan). The two tool around in a big American car. Yankele knows what he wants, and her name is Clara.
Arik's job is to act as a low-rent private eye and shadow the hopeful grooms who are Yankele's clients. All goes well until he gets carried away and shadows Yankele himself — who, it turns out, is living out of sight of the tax authorities, doesn't have an Israeli passport, and is, in Arik's naive eyes, an Israeli criminal. He doesn't understand these are some of the very qualities that make him attractive to a dame like Clara.