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By Alan Ng | October 10, 2019

The second act continues with Atalya’s prison sentence for refusal to serve in the military as well as the subsequent movement she moves forward, encouraging teens like her, to follow Atalya’s example. This speaks to the heart of civil disobedience—if enough people are willing to be arrested or imprisoned because of an unfair law, the results will ultimately make that unfair law useless.

In fairness to those who don’t agree with Atalya’s political stance. Objector is very one-sided and does not attempt to present the view of her critics in any substantial way. When her older relatives ask her about the fears that arose from the Holocaust and recent terrorist attacks, her response is generally, “I don’t agree that will happen.” It’s almost the same arguments offered by the hippies of the 60s. There is a fascinating discussion during Atalya’s military hearing near the end of her imprisonment, and depending on where you fall on the issue, you’d think your side won the argument.

“…does a fantastic job presenting Atalya as an earnest, sympathetic resister.”

In Objector, director Molly Stuart does a fantastic job presenting Atalya as an earnest, sympathetic resister. She truly believes in her cause, and it comes across as authentic. Rarely does it ever look like she’s playing to the camera. Her struggle and turmoil have an effect on her family as well. Her parents wish she would just serve her term and be done with it. Soon, her mother becomes an essential source of support.

In the end, we can not dismiss a film for the sole binary reason that we didn’t agree with its arguments. The problem today is we don’t want to have our beliefs challenged. Maybe we’re afraid we might find a crack in our tightly held positions. Instead, we call our foes “racists” or tell them to “go back to where you came from.” Heaven forbid, we might actually find common ground with our enemies.

To me, Objector did its job. I understand Atalya’s positions and appreciate her passion. Stuart presents these positions in a fair manner.  I may not agree with her political view, but she’s standing by her beliefs to the point of going to prison as she endures persecution for her decision. She motivates and inspires others to follow her footsteps. One thing that I agree with the film is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is incredibly complex, and both sides have dug in so deeply that change is almost impossible. Atalya’s example is the only way to keep the problem in the public light.

Objector (2019)

Directed and Written: Molly Stuart

Starring: Atalya Ben-Abba, Alona Lifshitz, Asa Lifshitz, Amitai Ben-Abba, Avishai Ben-Abba, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Objector Image

"…she motivates and inspires others to follow her footsteps."

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