In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_mv5bmtq1mze4mte3of5bml5banbnxkftztgwotcyndm3nte_._v1__sx1216_sy640_

Amy

Sometimes, it feels as if we are eavesdropping on day-to-day conversations rather than just hearing the usual litany of platitudes and regrets.

Thumb_large_nxcfdsanskih09xq74fjnyhw4g0

Stray Dog

"Stray Dog" largely succeeds because Granik's technique complements her subject. Both he and the film are modest in their goals and cherish the value of…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Yossi

Yossi Movie Review
  |  

"Yossi" is a modest movie about a closeted Israeli cardiologist still living in mourning a decade after his lover's death. It's serious about its characters and their emotions, but still finds room for humor.

The film is a sequel to director Eytan Fox's 2002 breakthrough "Yossi and Jagger," a romance about two men who fall in love while serving together in the Israeli army. Yossi (Ohad Knoller), one half of the earlier film's titular couple, now works in a Tel Aviv hospital. He is a workaholic, well-liked but intensely private. He sleeps in hospital beds between shifts, and tries to keep his colleagues — including a nurse (Ola Schur-Selektar) who has a crush on him and an irresponsible doctor (Lior Ashkenazi) who wants to be his friend — at arm's length.

Yossi lives in a double bind. On the one hand, he isn't comfortable enough with his co-workers to let them know that he's gay. On the other, he isn't comfortable enough with his aging body — ten years older and a good forty pounds heavier than he was in "Yossi and Jagger" — to pursue relationships.

In one the movie's standout scenes, Yossi goes to the apartment of a potential hook-up. The two had met online, and upon finally meeting in person, the other man calls Yossi out — gently but sharply — for deceiving him with old pictures from his army days. In short, Yossi lives in the past — partly out of self-loathing, partly due to trauma. To him, the present is little more than a blur of work, sleep and online porn.

"Yossi" follows him as he slowly, painfully learns to let go of the past, first by telling Jagger's parents (Orly Zilbershats, Raffi Tavor) about their relationship and then by going on vacation to the resort town of Eilat. There he meets up with a friendly group of soldiers — one of whom, Tom (Oz Zehavi), is openly gay. Not everything that happens in "Yossi" is necessarily believable, but it is all credible, thanks to the performances and to screenwriter Itay Segal's finely-tuned — and often funny — dialogue.

"Yossi"'s one major flaw is its style, or lack thereof. It looks and moves like a cable TV show — something that would play on FX or AMC. There's a fine line between being pragmatic and being tone-deaf, and at certain critical moments Fox errs on the side of the latter. For instance, a crucial late scene — which could be moving if it were, say, presented as a single take — is undercut by the editing. The scene involves Yossi disrobing — in a sense, coming to terms with his body — but is edited to obscure his nudity. Fox's shot choices are practical, not emotional, and the result robs the moment of any sense of catharsis.

Still, Fox manages to make up for some of his shortcomings as a visual stylist with his talent as a director of actors. Facial expressions, speech rhythms, and body language fill in emotional gaps. As Yossi, Knoller is especially excellent: his unflatteringly scraggily beard, slow walk, and slumpy posture suggest exhaustion and depression. His sad eyes — saddled with big insomniac bags — communicate everything the camera doesn't.

Popular Blog Posts

Why Can't Sad Be Fat?

A rebuttal to Joni Edelman's piece on "Inside Out."

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

The Unloved, Part 19: "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"

The July 2015 edition of The Unloved looks at Andrew Dominik's "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert...

Sex Symbol Without Auteur: The Strange Case of the Gina Lollobrigida Filmography

Three films starring Gina Lollobrigida have been released on Blu-ray; Glenn Kenny looks at them and her entire career.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus