Film: The Secrets
The Secrets (Ha-Sodot) is a 2007 Israeli film, directed by Avi Nesher and written by playwright Hadar Galron.Naomi, a brilliant young Ultra-Orthodox woman, persuades her father to allow her to put off her impending wedding so she can attend a women's seminary in Safed, a Jewish holy city in Israel. When she and her roommate, the rebellious Michelle, are assigned to bring food to Anouk, a dying Frenchwoman, they are drawn closer as they work together to develop purification rituals for Anouk, who wishes to atone for her past before she dies.
The Secrets contains examples of:
- Arranged Marriage: Naomi is engaged to her father's student, Michael. After attending seminary and falling in love with a woman, she breaks it off.
- The Atoner: Anouk, who asks Naomi and Michelle to help her find divine forgiveness for killing her ex-lover.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Owing to Naomi being something of an Insufferable Genius and Michelle being a bit of a French Jerk, the two can't stand each other at first. They get closer. Much closer.
- Bilingual Bonus: The movie is in Hebrew, with English subtitles. Presumably a good deal of subtext gets lost in the translation.
- Bittersweet Ending: Naomi breaks free of her father and her engagement to continue her studies (and, it is implied, work toward becoming the first female Orthodox Rabbi), but at the price of being disowned by her father. Michelle leaves Naomi and marry Yanki. Oh, and Anouk dies.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Sigi, when Michelle starts a water fight in the soup kitchen.
- Chekhov's Skill: Near the beginning of the movie, Sigi mentions she picked up a bit of French from her Moroccan grandmother. Later, when she is present for one of Anouk's purifying rituals, this allows her to hear Anouk's confession, which she considers blasphemous, and she rats Naomi and Michelle out.
- Heel-Faith Turn: Subverted. Sigi is newly religious, and it turns her from a friendly, adorable person into a Well-Intentioned Extremist who is willing to get her friends expelled from seminary for the sake of religious purity
- Everyone Looks Sexier If French: Michelle is from Lyon, and looks stylish and positively sexy compared to the frumpily dressed yeshiva girls.
- French Jerk: Michelle at first.
- I Have No Son: Naomi's father disowns her when she breaks off her engagement with his best student, Michael.
- Incurable Cough of Death: More or less averted; Anouk says near the beginning that she has cancer and heart disease.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: Particularly true for Naomi, since women in her community are mostly just expected to get married early and start having babies.
- Jerk Ass: Michael
- Jewish Mother: Yanki's mother
- Love Hurts: Michelle ends up marrying Yanki, shattering Naomi's heart into a million little pieces.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Sheine, with her constant snacking; also, at first, Sigi's involuntary swearing. Yanki's interactions with his mother.
- Schoolgirl Lesbians: Naomi and Michelle
- Teen Genius: Naomi
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Sigi