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Film / Every Time We Say Goodbye

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Every Time We Say Goodbye is a 1986 Israeli-American film starring Tom Hanks and Cristina Marsillach. Tom Hanks plays David, an American RAF pilot stationed in Mandatory Jerusalem note , prior to the United States entering World War II. His plane gets shot down somewhere in North Africa, and as a result he gets injured. He stays at a hospital in Jerusalem, Israel to recover from his leg injury. After his broken leg is healed, he realizes he only has three days left before returning to Egypt, so he decides to take advantage of the short time he has in Jerusalem. While he's there, he meets and falls in love with Sarah (Cristina Marsillach), a beautiful, shy Israeli woman of Sephardic Jewish ancestry. Only one problem: David is not Jewish (his father is a Protestant minister!), and Sarah’s family will do everything in their power to prevent their daughter from seeing David.

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Basically, it’s Romeo and Juliet with yarmulkes.

The film was a Box Office Bomb, making only $278,623 (to this day, it remains to be Hanks’ lowest grossing theatrically released film, according to Box Office Mojo). Reviews of the film were lukewarm at best, and the film had a limited release in theaters.

This film exhibits the following tropes:

  • All Jews Are Ashkenazi: Inverted in that ironically, some of the “Sephardic” Jewish characters such as Sarah’s parents, Nessim, and Victoria are played by Israeli actors of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
  • Beta Couple: Peter and Victoria
  • Comically Missing the Point: When David learns that Sarah is of Spanish descent and that her ancestors immigrated from Spain to Israel 400 years ago, he automatically assumes they must have had terrific memories there, to which Sarah awkwardly answers "yes".note 

    David: Your family came from Spain?
    Sarah: Yes.
    David: Recently?
    Sarah: About 400 years ago.
    David: I see. They must have some terrific memories.
    Sarah: (awkwardly) Yes.

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  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Inverted and Subverted. Although Sarah’s father shows more compassion and understanding of Sarah’s relationship with David better than her mother, he does make it clear that if she were to marry him, that Sarah would be disowned by her family.
  • I Have No Son: Sarah’s father tells Sarah that if she marries David, or at least chooses David over Nessim, she’ll be disowned by him and the rest of her family. Also, according to Peter, Victoria’s family regards her as a “pariah” because of her marriage to him.

    • Invoked in Virgin Tension, in which Sarah’s mom angrily tells her, “You’re no longer my daughter! You’re dead!”

  • Matzo Fever: Both David and Peter are in love with Jewish women (David falls for Sarah, and Peter falls for Victoria)
  • Ms. Fanservice: After Sarah and David have sex (albeit off-screen), there is a visible shot of Sarah’s breasts (for more than a few seconds) as she is lying on the bed.
  • My Beloved Smother: After Sarah’s mom finds out about Sarah going into David’s hotel room and thus becoming “impure”, she does everything in her power to prevent David and Sarah from meeting each other, whether it would be taking away all of Sarah’s clothes from her closet, leaving only her undergarments, so she couldn’t leave the house naked, or stopping David from entering her house to deliver the letter to Sarah, which Sarah’s mom rips into pieces by the way.
  • Nice Jewish Boy: Nessim, Sarah’s cousin. He seems nice, sweet, and interested in taking care of Sarah if she marries him.
  • Slut-Shaming: When Sarah’s mom finds out that Sarah loves David (a Gentile, mind you!) and had “sex” with him in his hotel room note , she immediately calls her own daughter “a whore”.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Lampshaded by David. Despite Sarah having entered his hotel room barefoot, wearing plain clothes, and having messy hair, he stills finds her pretty; in fact, he’s even frustrated that Sarah is incapable of looking terrible.
    (David is shocked to see Sarah with messy hair, bare feet and in a white blouse and black skirt)
    Sarah: They took my clothes.
    David: (surprised) You walked here like that?
    Sarah: I had to see you one last time. I must look -
    David: (happily) Adorable! Damn, why can’t you look terrible? I’ve been out walking the streets trying to convince myself I wasn’t in love with you. And I come back here, and you’re barefoot, and you’re adorable.

  • Virgin Tension: When Sarah’s mom finds out that Sarah was in David’s hotel room, she asks if Sarah is still “pure”, and when Sarah says she loves him, her mother takes that as an indication that she had sex with him (even though Sarah and David merely kissed). Naturally, Sarah’s mom is upset, and proceeds to slut-shame her. It also doesn’t help that Sarah is in love with a Gentile, which goes against her family’s religious beliefs.
    • The horrible irony would be that Sarah eventually has sex with David anyway in his hotel room
  • What an Idiot!: See Comically Missing the Point.

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