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Review: Foxtrot

This moving Israeli drama begins with a scene every parent with a child in the army fears — the knock at the door and the soldiers with solemn faces. They don’t even have to hear the words to know their world has been changed forever. When Daphna (Sarah Adler) and Michael (Lior Ashkenazi) Feldmann are informed of the death of their son Jonathan, she is immediately sedated by the soldiers and put to bed, as Michael is forced to deal with the funeral arrangements and a slew of other people’s emotional needs, while still numb and unable to find out what exactly happened to his child.

The second part of the film is from Jonathan’s perspective. He and his fellow soldiers are stationed at a remote checkpoint. And they’re bored to death. They spend their time dancing, sharing stories, and watching their shipping crate barracks sink slowing into the mud. That is until one particular night when things spin tragically out of control during a vehicle stop. The third part of the film is back with the parents who are still dealing with the fallout from Jonathan’s death. It’s affected their relationship to the point that Michael is not living with Daphna.

But fear not. Foxtrot isn’t a total downer. It’s an emotional roller coaster. You will laugh and be shocked and saddened and angry. There are also absurd moments and some very arty cinematography. And there is above all wonderful acting. It swept the Israeli Academy Awards, but is also extremely controversial there. (You’ll understand why if you see it.) I highly recommend it to wide audiences who are okay with subtitles. Its message is pretty universal.

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