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Review: ‘Wedding Plan’ more than just a rom-com

Tom Long
The Detroit News

Unexpectedly rich, “The Wedding Plan” uses the frame of an apparent romantic comedy as a vehicle to study religious faith, loneliness, culture and inner turmoil.

Michal (a dazzling yet deep Noa Koler) is dumped by her fiancee one month before their wedding date. An orthodox Jew living in Jerusalem, she refuses to cancel the wedding. In her early 30s she’s tired of dating. She wants to settle down. So she figures she has one month to find a husband. God will provide.

And that last bit is of paramount importance. Michal is a very religious woman — she prays while biding her time in a waiting room, breaks down in tears at a religious shrine — and this is a true test of her faith.

God doesn’t get around to providing in a hurry. Michal goes on a date with a man who refuses to look at her. She goes on another with a deaf psychologist, who she insults with her honesty. She meets a pop star (Oz Zehavi), a gorgeous dude who does, indeed, ask her to marry; she turns him down because she figures it’s either a joke or won’t last. It’s complicated.

Indeed, everything is complicated for Michal, who is forthright, passionate, casually charming and the owner of a mobile petting zoo. She’s something of a daffy, adorable modern character except she’s also a serious orthodox Jew.

Writer-director Rama Burshtein is also an orthodox Jew and her previous narrative film, “Fill the Void,” was about a young orthodox Jew woman being pressured into an unwanted marriage. So Burshtein is definitely concerned with the intersections of love, religion, duty and tradition.

Here those concerns are batted about with a mixture of humor and genuine despair. “The Wedding Plan” ends on an unsure, possibly hallucinatory note, but that odd miscue doesn’t undermine this movie’s great warmth of spirit.

Tom Long is a longtime culture critic.

‘The Wedding Plan’

GRADE: B

Rated PG for thematic elements

Running time: 110 minutes