Directed by | Asaf Korman
Produced by | Haim Mecklberg, Estee Yacov-Mecklberg
Screenplay by | Liron Ben-Shlush
Starring | Dana Ivgy, Liron Ben-Shlush, Yaakov Zada Daniel
Run Time | 89 minutes
Certificate | 15
Plot | Chelli (Ben-Shlush) splits her time between working as security guard for a school and caring for her sister Gabby (Ivgy) who she also lives with. When Chelli starts seeing a colleague (Daniel), their relationship comes under great strain.
Review | Next to Her is a mixed bag. On the one hand, there are some good performances (particularly Ivgy who is very convincing in portraying a character with a strong autism-like condition). On the other, the denouement is poor, unrealistic and the outcome renders the film meaningless.
The first half of the film does a pretty good job at setting out the situation, and then throwing in some interesting discord. Chelli is attempting to care for her sister by herself whilst holding down a full time job. Before long, she is reported to social services, who advise that Chelli put Gabby into a daycare centre for both their good. Begrudgingly, Chelli agrees.
One of the themes of Next to Her is that of co-dependency. It isn’t long after Gabby’s schedule is set up that Chelli becomes increasingly jealous of the bond Gabby has cultivated with those she meets at the center. Combining this with a lack of knowing what to do with her spare time, Chelli embarks on a relationship with co-worker Zohar.
Over time, the inter-dependency and intimacy of the sisters’ relationship puts a strain on Chelli and Zohar. This ultimately leads to a very unrealistic set of decisions taken by characters towards the end of the film that seemingly is meant to end things on a downer. Even the final shot, which is somewhat meant to give some sort of comfort, doesn’t as it implies that the problems they had to begin with haven’t resolved. These last 15-20 minutes totally spoils what would have otherwise been a solid, insightful drama.
The Verdict | Despite promise of better, and some good performances, a shoddy, unrealistic ending leaves too much of a bitter taste in the mouth to recommend.