Avraham Kushnir’s drama focuses on the tensions within an Orthodox Jewish family, where rigid tradition fights a losing battle with contemporary values. Bruriah refers to the elusive Talmudic figure of the 2nd century CE who was unsuccessfully tested in her fidelity by her rabbi husband, and to a modern namesake trying to locate a lost book written by her father, a rabbi who was excommunicated for allegedly heretical Talmudic commentary.
The film, however, stays anchored in today’s Israel as Bruriah witnesses mild forms of rebellion – her daughter’s plan to become a rabbi, a friend’s aggressive push for a rabbinical divorce. In the process, she quietly reconsiders her own value as a wife and mother. But her sour husband does not appreciate how life is progressing, and his attempt to replay the Talmud story by pushing an attractive colleague into Bruriah’s path only complicates things further.
Sadly, “Bruriah” is far too mild to make any significant sociological point. Bruriah’s central position is too passive for too long, and her belated breaking point action is, ultimately, an anti-climax. In the star role, Hadar Galron (who co-wrote the screenplay) is so bland and dull that it becomes difficult to comprehend why so many people are interested in her actions. Really, who wants to see a movie about a boring woman who vaguely rethinks her uneventful life?
The resulting work comes across as a sleepy, half-considered meditation on girl power that arrives four decades late to the sisterhood of feminist cinema.