Noodle

  • Year:2009
  • Rating:PG
  • Director:Ayelet Menahemi
  • Cast:Mili Avital, BaoQi Chen
  • Release Date:June 18, 2009
  • Distributor:Potential
  • Running time:90 minutes
  • Film Worth:$13.50
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Though shot and characterised in a low key, almost darkly comical manner, Noodle is so abundant with charm and genuine feeling.

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With its troubled history and close ties with Europe and America, it's surprising that it has taken Israel until now to develop a generation of filmmakers producing cinema worthy of the world's attention. The Band's Visit, Lemon Tree and Waltz With Bashir were three of last year's best, and now comes Noodle, made in 2007 but only now released in Australia.

Ayelat Menahemi's heartwarming tale is driven by its resilient characters, much like the country in which the film is set. There's Miri (Mili Avital, who became famous for all the wrong reasons when romanced by David Schwimmer after co-starring in Kissing A Fool), the beautiful twice widowed flight attendant living in a Tel Aviv apartment. This backstory mention of the region's never-ending war is the only whiff of the Israel that we see in the news almost every week, and the film instead plays out like it could happen in any modern city.

Miri's older sister, Gila (Anat Waxman in a spunky performance) is almost always by her side, especially after a Chinese house cleaner abandons her young son with Miri. Gila is going through a marriage breakdown with Izzy (Alon Aboutboul), who works with Miri and also carries a torch for her. Despite initially resenting the young boy, who doesn't speak Hebrew or English, this odd bunch eventually bond and get to the bottom of why a mother would abandon her son.

With its spiky characters and unadorned visual style, Noodle's charm sneaks up on you in unexpected ways. Humour, often of the politically incorrect kind, abounds as Miri and co. attempt to communicate with the young boy, and also navigate through their own personal issues. By the time the film reaches its lump-in-the-throat conclusion, you'll be glad to have discovered this touching and universal story.

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