Nitzan Gilady’s Wedding Doll is neither inspirational nor miserable, which would be faint praise if it didn’t brave subject matter that should come with a “first, do no harm” rule.
Hagit (Moran Rosenblatt) has a mild, unspecified spectrum disorder that manifests itself most outwardly in a warm personality and infectious smile, often directed at people in her life who don’t deserve it; her idiosyncrasies, one of which gives the film its title, inform but don’t define the Israeli twentysomething.
The figurines she crafts by hand betray her obsession with marriage, which itself betrays how little else there is to aspire to in her small town. When she isn’t busy daydreaming about her nuptials, Hagit finds herself dealing with an overprotective mother, the imminent closure of the toilet-paper factory where she works, and her secret relationship with the son of her boss. So secret, in fact, that he’s yet to tell his two closest friends, who amuse themselves by making fun of his paramour — like many a would-be nice guy in the movies, he’s only a decent person until it becomes uncool.
Gilady never treats her heroine as a prop in someone else’s redemption arc, and Rosenblatt’s performance will have you looking for her work in other films and wondering why she hasn’t already been absorbed by one of the never-ending superhero franchises. Wedding Doll benefits greatly from her restraint, but you can’t help wanting to see her talent on a wider canvas.
Directed by Nitzan Gilady
Opens April 15, Village East Cinema