3.5 out of 5 stars (above average)
Woman Alive is a very good movie only hurt by its pacing. The acting from everyone is great, the writing is natural, and director Macabit Abramson provides a very intimate and personal feel in its discussion of the mature issues it brings up. Lihi Zemel (Abramson’s daughter) gives a vulnerable and nuanced performance in the lead role that should gain her widespread attention and the moments that mean to hit the audience hard do so without missing a beat. This is Abramson’s first narrative feature film, and while it could have been paced better, I sense quite a promising career ahead of her in the director’s chair. Pacing issues aside, Woman Alive is an intimate, mature odyssey of discovery with a great lead performance and strong direction.
Depressed thirty-year-old Shlomit (Lihi Zemel) decides to leave her husband and daughter to try and live the life she never could before. Along the way, she encounters some who help her on her journey, some who leave her with further scars, and some who help her find the freedom she always wanted.
What sets Woman Alive apart from other “person abandons everything to find themselves” movies is its uncommon sense of intimacy. Strong writing and Zemel’s star performance ensure we understand Shlomit’s mindset and feel the same pains, joys, betrayals, and triumphs she does along the journey. Iftach Rave, Sasha Okun, and the other supporting cast members do very well with limited screentime, the musical score is surprisingly atmospheric in spots, and I found the ending to be bittersweet. I won’t dare spoil anything, but it had me contemplating what was next for Shlomit after these life-altering events, the sign of any good ending. Woman Alive overcomes slow pacing with emotional intimacy and a star-making lead performance from Lihi Zemel. See it.
Likely would be Rated R for Some Sexuality and Nudity.