What could have been a great movie turned out to be just a fair one (but I liked it anyway). “Round Trip” is the story of an Israeli divorced woman with two kids who as a lesbian affair with her children’s nanny, a black woman. However, the romance does not progress smoothly. I found it somewhat alarming that all the clichés of relationships like this were lumped into this movie– the husband tries to gain custody of the children; the nanny is caught selling her body. What saves the movie are the performances and the way the movie was constructed. The plot, as old as it is, is engrossing.
The nanny is from Africa and as such she shows the problems that confront gay African women. What the movie also shows and is surprising is the racial prejudice of Israel, something not expected. Israelis in many cases are descended from Holocaust survivors and one would think that prejudice would be foreign to them.
“Round Trip” is gritty and has a true verite style. Anat Waxman is beautifully believable in her role as a character that you love to hate and hate to love. What pervades the film is the sense of urban grit and limited choices that are particularly oppressive. The children are the direct opposition to the aura of the film as they are seen as natural with expressive personalities. The conflict between mother and daughter is almost poisonous and eats at the emotions of the viewer. The major problem I found with the film is that it ended so neatly and everything came to a very tidy resolution. Life is just not like that. But as a new and interesting film from a country just spreading its wings in the movie world, I felt it had a lot to say and shows great promise for Israel.