Late Marriage

At the age of 31, Zaza's (Lior Ashkenazi, Electricity Man, Kanon) parents believe he is too old to remain single. They are Georgians (the republic, not the state) living in Israel, and they still retain many of their cultural habits. They believe that in marriage, the man must be older. All marriage is arranged, and they compromise with Zaza by giving him veto power over their choices. Zaza frequently exercises his power of veto in Late Marriage, Dover Koshashvili's (With Rules) new movie about the generation gap and the struggle of members of the second generation to overcome tradition.

Zaza wants to marry for love. Thus, he continually rebuffs the efforts of his father Yasha (Moni Moshonov, Besame Mucho, The Shower) and mother Lili (Lili Koshashvili, Dover's mother). The worst part is, he has many desirable qualities; he is handsome, smart, and clever. The other reason is that he is in love with Judith (Made in France, Ben Gurion Airport). She is a divorcee and single mother, two things that automatically disqualify as potential spousal material according to his parents' wishes. Zaza keeps his relationship private and continues to see Judith and reject the women his parents present to him, until his parents find out about Judith.

Koshashvili has an unconventional sense of humor he uses to defuse many volatile situations. Late Marriage is a movie about all the awkward silences that happen in conversations. There are plenty of times where nobody is sure what to say, and when somebody says something, it is clearly the wrong thing to say. Zaza clearly is having trouble reconciling his desires with those of his parents. When he's around them, he shuts down emotionally. His relationship with Judith is the opposite. In an extended scene of sex, Koshashvili shows how emotionally close these two people actually are (although the scene frequently borders on the gratuitous).

It's a little disappointing where the Koshashvili takes the characters and situations. He carefully creates tension and drama only to ruin it in the denouement. Although the ending is valid given the circumstances, it feels like Koshashvili sidesteps any deeper issues between Zaza and his family. With the characters carrying so much emotional baggage, it takes more than one climactic argument to fix things. Still, the performances are good all around, and the issues presented transcend the Jewish-Georgian culture. Late Marriage is about the bond between parents and children, and the difficulties inherent when children want to assert their independence and thus begin straining this bond.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 42 minutes, Hebrew and Georgian with English subtitles, Not Rated but contains language, nudity, and sexual situations, an easy R, possibly an NC-17.

Back to Movies