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Review: ‘Felix and Meira’ follows flight to freedom

Tom Long
The Detroit News

Delicate, warm and worried, “Felix and Meira” is a coming-of-age film about two grown people stunted by social circumstance.

Felix (Martin Dubreil) is something of an aimless mooch. As the film begins, he is reunited with his dying father, who he hasn’t spoken to in a decade, although he has stolen from him to finance his life. When his father dies, Felix inherits a steady livelihood.

Felix likes to draw, as does Meira (the radiant Hadas Yaron), an orthodox Jew married to a disapproving husband (Luzer Twersky) who won’t even let her listen to music. Felix notices Meira drawing while caring for her baby daughter in a coffee shop and tries to speak with her. Meira is supposed to shun him, but sees an opening to the outer world.

Eventually, they become friends and Meira finds herself exposed to life’s possibilities. This is a woman whose life and self-image are changed by the simple act of putting on a pair of jeans. When her husband grows suspicious, he sends her away from their Montreal home to live with a cousin in New York City — which only opens her eyes further.

Felix follows her there and a romance blossoms. But Meira is risking everything she’s ever known and Felix is hardly stable. Still, she feels trapped and freedom beckons.

Yaron, who played a similarly trapped Jewish woman in “Fill the Void,” brings an aching innocence and want to the film, as well as a sly sense of humor and a glorious, tentative smile. In the end, you wish the best for Meira while fearing Felix isn’t good enough for her. Beauty and spirit so rare need protecting in an unfair world.

tlong@detroitnews.com

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‘Felix and Meira’

GRADE: B+

Rated R for a scene of sexuality/nudity

Running time: 105 minutes

At the Detroit Film Theatre