15 Years: The boundaries of love in a sea of internal darkness


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

With his debut feature film 15 Years, writer/director Yuval Hadadi brings us a film rich in conversations on the boundaries of love and belonging in a sea of internal darkness. Here Hadadi explores how childhood experience can directly affect the emotional security of the adult as a single spark ignites long-suppressed destructive thoughts. This creates a complex dissection of the mental health challenges that surround our LGBTQ community life while also exploring the need for men to own their emotions rather than burying them.

Yoav and Dan are celebrating their 15th anniversary, their lives and relationship surrounded by close friends, warmth and privilege. Their penthouse city apartment in Tel Aviv is a regular hang out for friends as they eat, drink and discuss the world’s problems. However, when Yoav’s best friend Alma announces she is pregnant through sperm donation, Yoav’s friends and partner quickly assume he is the donor. But this assumption is neither correct nor welcomed by Yoav as the dinner party spirals into conflict as he reaffirms his dislike of children. But as the room heats up, everyone is confused by where Yoav’s anger and pain have come from? The answer may lie with his father, who lies dying not far away with little contact from his son.


Hadadi cleverly dissects many of the conflicts surrounding modern gay life by freely exploring a range of social taboos within the film’s narrative. Here themes of gay parenting and laced with discussions on heteronormative acceptance while the ‘Peter Pan’ syndrome of the gay male life is dissected before our eyes. But at its heart, 15 Years offers us a fascinating exploration of faltering mental health and unresolved trauma.

The subdued colour palette and icy cold blues of 15 Years may leave some viewers emotionally distant from Yoav’s journey. But the colour palette equally reflects Yoav’s internal state of mind as he continues to attempt to bury his past. Here, Hadadi asks the viewer to look beyond any simple emotional connections to his lead character and instead explore the Yoav within themselves.

Director: Yuval Hadadi

Cast: Oded LeopoldUdi PersiRuti Asarsai 

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