Honeymood is now playing at BFI London Film Festival.
As the late, great Peter Cook so eloquently put it in The Princess Bride, “Mawwiage. Mawwiage is wat bwings us togeder today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam wifin a dream”. Of course, marriage is not always a blessed arrangement, and sometimes this revelation can strike not long after the ceremony has ended. Over the years, many films have highlighted love’s disintegration, from dramas like On Chesil Beach and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to comedies such as the dire Just Married (2003). So the question is, does Talya Lavie’s new movie Honeymood offer anything new? The answer is partly, as Lavie takes the single-night comedy found in After Hours (1985) and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008) and layers it with delightfully dark humour. Here Lavie delights in unpicking the relationship of her main characters, both of whom skirt the boundaries of likability.
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Newlyweds (Avigail Harari and Ran Danker) have just stepped into their luxury honeymoon suite, leaving behind the stress of their wedding ceremony. The day’s exhaustion is painted on their faces as they settle in for a night of romance, relaxation and discovery. However, the loving atmosphere soon becomes suspicious as the groom hides a gift from his ex, a trinket that holds a story he would rather not discuss on his honeymoon. But, distrust, nervousness and apprehension are not easily hidden and as tensions rise and tempers fray, we are taken on a tour of Jerusalem like no other.
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The vibrant cityscape of Jerusalem surrounds our newlyweds as their relationship slowly dissolves, the absurdity of their search bathed in moments of pure comedic gold. Here it’s the central performances of Harari and Danker that steal the show as the hope and optimism of romance slowly disintegrates. Lavie dissects the classic rom-com with glee while offering an engaging, dynamic and fresh comedy. However, not all the humour present hits the mark, and occasionally you may find your mind wandering away from the action on screen. But that said, Honeymood remains a delight, its irreverent take on love, marriage and happiness shining with originality.
Director: Talya Lavie