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      A Tale of Love and Darkness

      PG-13 Released Aug 19, 2016 1h 38m Biography History Drama TRAILER for A Tale of Love and Darkness: Trailer 1 List A Tale of Love and Darkness: Trailer 1 A Tale of Love and Darkness: Trailer 1 1:52 View more videos
      72% Tomatometer 67 Reviews 51% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings Influenced by his mother's (Natalie Portman) stories and poetry readings, young Amos Oz (Amir Tessler) grows up in 1940s Jerusalem and becomes a famous writer. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      A Tale of Love and Darkness

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      Critics Consensus

      A Tale of Love and Darkness suggests greater things for debuting writer-director Natalie Portman -- even if its reach slightly exceeds her creative grasp.

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      Critics Reviews

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      Bilge Ebiri Spirituality & Health Ultimately, this is a worthy, heartfelt, and uneven attempt to bring to cinematic life an immense, acclaimed memoir of love, life, and war. Mar 24, 2020 Full Review Tal Rosenberg Chicago Reader Whereas Oz's material, at its best, considers the nuances and subtleties of language, Portman's script reduces his writing to platitudes and cliches. Sep 1, 2016 Full Review Barry Hertz Globe and Mail Portman ... paints a portrait of the Jewish state's fraught history, all with the confident authority of a filmmaker who is years beyond her debut. Rated: 3/4 Aug 26, 2016 Full Review Richard Crouse Richard Crouse As an actor-turned-director Portman aims high, taking chances and never allowing the weight of the material to bog down the film. Rated: 3/5 Mar 1, 2021 Full Review Dan Scully Cinema76 When all is said and done, this extremely personal project from one of our most talented screen artists is both admirable and ambitious. Mar 31, 2020 Full Review Debbie Holloway Narrative Muse I recommend the film not because it's a classic or it's my new favorite movie. But...It's worth disappearing into an old, old language and confronting difficult truths about life. Oct 11, 2019 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      steve d Powerful and strongly acted. A worthy tale. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member In Hebrew and adapted from the memoir of Israel's leading author, Amos Oz, Natalie Portman's directorial debut is an enchantingly sorrowful love letter to her birthland through the eyes of the young protagonist witnessing his mother and the young nation descending into the abyss of darkness in the first years of independent Israel. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/22/23 Full Review Audience Member - Portman shines like a candle in the Darkness - Here at Narrative Muse, we like to highlight what we call "the best of the best." Stuff we'd recommend. Stuff that makes us laugh, cry, and engage. Stuff that's new and solid and innovative, that makes us excited about the potential of storytelling. So in the interest of full disclosure, I want to say right off the bat that A Tale of Love and Darkness is not the strongest film we've reviewed. I'll explain. This Hebrew-language movie is based on the memoirs of Amos Oz, who was a child in Jerusalem in the years following WWII, when the United Nations voted to recognize Israel as a state in the Partition Plan for Palestine. His memoirs are long and winding, but largely focus on his romantic mother Fania and her battle with depression in a world full of dashed hopes and unmet expectations. Natalie Portman (Jane Got a Gun) not only stars as Fania, but writes and directs. It has some notable flaws. The dialogue is unbalanced, a little too weighty and somber to paint an accurate picture of how real families interact. The dreamy film quality has a low-budget feeling to it. Most noticeably, the film suffers from the classic adaptation trap of adhering perhaps too closely to its original source material. It preserves great lines and moments, but often fails to reach the full potential of telling the story in a new medium. So why feature a film with such noticeable imperfections? Why offer a sneak peak, the specs, and a way to buy it? Well, a few reasons. It's a passion project eight years in the making, and the debut for veteran actress Natalie Portman as writer and director. Israeli-born Portman fell in love with the Oz's memoirs years ago, but only acquired enough funding to launch a film version after she agreed to star as well as direct. It's easy to see Portman using some common crutches in both her writing and directing, but it's also encouraging to see her insight, spark, and good instincts. She's not afraid to give her audience something to sit with, even if it's slow or uncomfortable, to truly drive home the integrity of the story. She is a sharp, professional woman, and I'm thrilled to see her entering this new realm of storytelling. A Tale of Love and Darkness also presents a world many of us have never experienced, but still live with every day. The last survivors of "the Greatest Generation" are slowly fading away. Soon, history-changing moments like WWII and the Holocaust will only be retold in books. It's important for people like me, who have only ever known peace in my country, to see what it's like for your neighbor to die from sniper fire. To live in a place where war and racial tensions go back not hundreds of years, but thousands. No movie can portray those things perfectly, but this one has some really striking moments. Also, the film's performances and themes are truly moving. Through the eyes of young Amos (Amir Tessler), we see heartbreak and hate. He learns to navigate, if not understand, bruised egos and the ache of a bad marriage. Loneliness, abuse, bitterness, self-loathing, and even the darkest depths of depression. Portman is the heart and soul of the film, but Tessler and Gilad Kahana as her husband Arieh provide compelling performances and create a family that feels relatable, even from oceans and decades away. In the end, I think, I recommend the film not because it's a classic or it's my new favorite movie. But it's worth watching. It's worth sitting with the ideas Oz presents, with the images Portman delivers. It's worth disappearing into an old, old language and confronting difficult truths about life. "A fulfilled dream is a disappointing dream." It's not exactly a chipper sentiment. But what a way to think about the way we live our lives, and the way we set expectations for ourselves. Is real life ever the way we dream it will be? Is the "Promised Land" ever truly free from tears? Maybe not. But A Tale of Love and Darkness has a spark of unwavering hope, even amidst the shadows. ---------- This review was first published on Narrative Muse,, and was written Debbie Holloway. Narrative Muse curates the best books and movies by and about women and non-binary folk on our website and our social media channels. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/08/23 Full Review Audience Member This is a beautiful, melancholy, dreamlike, sepia-toned child's remembrance of early Israel and a depressed mother. Based on the book by Amos Oz and written by, directed by, and starring Natalie Portman, the film is a montage of exquisitely photographed vignettes, lacking a compelling narrative arc. It is fascinating to watch Portman in Hebrew in mid-20th century Jerusalem. The film gives one cause to look for more from Portman as a director and filmmaker. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/06/23 Full Review chris n Well crafted and poetic, but not necessarily entertaining. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Sensible, intriguing and bittersweet! One of the things that impressed me was that I could feel the love of Amos for his mother, and vice versa, through the screen. The purest and powerful love. Truly a beautiful and well done movie. Natalie is amazing... as always! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/26/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      A Tale of Love and Darkness

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      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis Influenced by his mother's (Natalie Portman) stories and poetry readings, young Amos Oz (Amir Tessler) grows up in 1940s Jerusalem and becomes a famous writer.
      Natalie Portman
      Ram Bergman, David Mandil
      Natalie Portman
      Focus World
      Production Co
      Ram Bergman
      PG-13 (Thematic Content|Some Disturbing Violent Images)
      Biography, History, Drama
      Original Language
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Aug 19, 2016, Limited
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Dec 20, 2016
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      1h 38m
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