Felix and Meira full movie review - "Who says I'm not dead already?"
"Felix and Meira" (2014 release from Canada; 195 min.) brings the story of the two title characters. As the movie opens, we see Meira serving dinner to a group of Hasadic Jewish couples.
Not a word is said during dinner, and you can immediately sense a sadness within Meira. It's only later that we understand she is bored and frustrated and suffocating under the tight-knit rules of the Hasadic Jewish community. Then we get to know Felix, a secular Jew whose father is dying. The two were not close but it still affects Felix significantly. One day, Felix runs into Meira and her 3 yr. old baby girl at the local coffee shop. He tries to strike up a conversation but she rejects him. Later on, though, it becomes clear that something is brewing between Felix and Meira. At this point we're at most 15-20 min. into the movie but to tell you more would spoil your viewing experience. You'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the third full-length feature from Canadian writer-director Maxime Giroux. This time he tackles a story line that plays out on the closed community that is the Hasadic Jewish Community. The 2012 "Fill The Voice" film explored similar themes as to the isolated Hasadic Jewish community, but here Giroux decides to make it even more personal by focusing on Meira and her conflicted feelings as to her overall life. In the beginning of the movie, Meira 'plays dead' to tease her husband. Much later on, when her husband asks why she doesn't do that anymore, Meira wistfully replies "Who says I'm not dead already?", wow. (And her husband's response to that? "When will you finally understand that this is our life? Pull yourself together!") It should be noted that, even though the closeness/isolationism of the Hasadic Jewish community can be an easy target for criticism, the movie treats them at all times with a great amount of respect. The acting performances are top-notch all the way, in fact I was wondering whether the Hasadic Jews were portrayed by actors or by real Hasadic Jews. Hadas Yaron as Meira is outstanding (she also played the role of a Hasadic Jewish wife in "Fill the Void" by the way.) Compared to that, Martin Dubreuil as Felix has a harder time staying in the lime light. Last but not least, there is an outstanding clarinet-heavy musical score (composed to Olivier Alary), and even fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen contributes a tune ("Famous Blue Raincoat"). Bottom line: this is a slow-moving (in the best possible way) family drama set within the Hasadic Jewish community that caught my attention from start to finish.
"Felix and Meira" opened without any pre-release fanfare or advertising at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati this Memorial Day weekend. The matinée screening where I saw this at was very nicely attended, somewhat to my surprise to be honest (the audience was heavy on the seniors, I might add). If you are in the mood for a top-notch quality foreign movie that is GALAXIES away from the latest Mad Max or Pitch Perfect, do yourself a favor and check this out, be it in the theater, or eventually on VDV/Blu-ray. "Felix and Meira" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!