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TIFF 15 Review: A Tale of Love and Darkness (2015) ★★★


While Israel is under British Mandate and Jewish people are about to create their own state, young Amos will tell us the story of how his mother was telling him tales that allowed him go through darkness. The relationship between a mother and son will grow so strong that it will define him as a future writer, journalist, and advocate of a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  But this movie is about his love letter to his mother which she will never be able to read….

A Tale of Love and Darkness begins like a poem with moving hands. While we hear the voice of old Amos Oz, we see how young Amos and his mother, Fania (Natalie Portman) talk with their hands. Soon after you will be thrown into conflicts that create chaos in Jerusalem and makes Fania suffer constant headaches, depression, and loss of interest to do anything. Despite having a close relationship with her husband Arieh, Fania sees Amos as the only ray of light and a reason to keep going as far as her strength allows her.

As the movie progresses, you see Amos in many other situations where he must act like a grown up to not give up the way his mother does. We see how poverty, war, and uncertainty of Jerusalem reflects on Fania and her family which makes it impossible for them to help her. But what’s interesting in this film is the way Natalie Portman directs it. She walks on a thin line and tries not to cross it, which is quite a difficult task on a directorial debut. Despite the movie having many issues, it still can be considered as a huge success for Portman as she manages to express her thoughts, seemingly for her, on a very important topic and translates it to the big screen in such a delicate way.

In conclusion, seeing this film won’t teach you anything new, but adds another point to the pointless and dreadful conflicts Jewish people had gone through, and how many more lives are being taken because of people’s inhuman act. At the end of the day, A Tale of Love and Darkness is a worth seeing movie about how love is the only thing that can take one person through hell and darkness in spite of being the only one standing at the end of the tunnel.

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