Review: Honeymood

Written and directed by Talya Lavie, following a fight in their honeymoon suite on the night of their wedding, a bride and groom embark on a surreal urban odyssey through the streets of Jerusalem. Starring: Avigail Harari, Ran Danker, Meir Suissa, Orly Silbersatz, Yael Folman, Elisha Banai and Ana Dubrovitzki.

Having a night derailed by one event that then spirals into a messy adventure is a classic comedy story and Honeymood embraces all the chaos and calamity that comes with it. When the newlyweds arrive in their fancy hotel suite, sipping on champagne before they can embrace their wedding night, the bride discovers her groom received a gift from his ex-girlfriend. After eventually persuading him to show her the gift and discovering that it’s a ring, she’s determined to find her and return it so off they go into the night, still in their wedding outfits and entirely unprepared for the night they’re about to have.

The aspect that stands out so quickly with this film is the writing, it’s humour is so casually delightfully and sharp, it comes through so naturally, it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be funny rather just letting the situation speak for itself. That’s before you even get to the story progression, it’s entirely unpredictable and just when you think it’s reached its peak, it has even more to throw at you. The timing and almost one-upmanship of the story is gripping to watch; it’s witty, a little bit silly, surprising and a big dash of crazy. It’s latter moments might throw you slightly for how surreal it truly gets but looking at the writing as a whole and how they bring so much of the earlier moments back full circle, it’s incredibly satisfying.

It’s only further helped by the fact that Harari and Danker have a fantastic chemistry that’s both passionate and fiery, in a romantic and repartee sense. However, their performances go way beyond comedy, the rather extreme complications that their night involves brings out a number of different sides that they both embrace so well. Harari’s Eleanor is feisty, relentless and confident while Danker’s Noam is stubborn, hard-headed and practical, a classic case of opposites attract, they shouldn’t work and yet they do, most of the time. Suissa and Silbersatz as Noam’s parents are a wonderful addition as the classic overbearing, uber-involved, outspoken type that perfectly fit this type of comedy. They bring a very appropriate awkwardness to the comedy and draw you further in with how much you’ll actively want them to mind their own business.

All of which is then brought together perfectly by the direction and editing, they add to that fantastic pace and atmosphere that the writing creates, raising the stakes of its adventure. The editing (by Arik Lahav-Leibovich) in particular uses some really great cuts to add a faster, almost action-like tempo to it, the events intensify and so do the risks and consequences. Aspects that are supported even further by its score which has a very playful almost Chaplin or Laurel and Hardy-esque tone to it, as crazy as the film gets, the score helps to keep it self-aware of its ridiculous and silly nature, never taking itself too seriously to keep things lively and fun.

Honeymood is absolutely nuts, it’s a lot of fun, witty and entirely unexpected, it will without a doubt keep you on your toes and you’d have to be psychic to predict exactly where it’s going. Harari and Danker are absolutely fantastic as the leading couple, they have a very strong chemistry and their battle of wills is highly entertaining to watch unfold in a relentlessly surprising manner. Everything works so succinctly to bring through the exceptional writing and the story follows such a wonderfully ridiculous path that it might leave you a little speechless when the credits roll.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯

Available via BFI Player at
London Film Festival from 8th October

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