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The Wedding Plan

"The Wedding Plan" will be shown Sunday at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport. 

When we see the protagonist in a waiting room, we know the setting represents her life and not just a moment in time.

“The Wedding Plan” is a story of desperation and faith, with a wry humor and a lovable central character named Michal (Noa Koler).

An Orthodox Jew in her 30s, Michal is engaged, to a man she has known for years.

They are together when she realizes something is amiss. After much prodding, he admits to her that yes, something is wrong: He doesn’t love her.

She is thrown into shock. The grim reality is that the women she knows are either married or getting married.

“I don’t want to be alone,” she says. “I want to be normal …. I want people to respect me because I have a spouse…. I’m sick of feeling humiliated.”

“I want to make Shabbat with a man.”

And so she proceeds with a gigantic leap of faith: She will buy a wedding dress, rent a hall, and invite 200 guests. Because, she reasons, if God wants her to marry, he will send her a husband by the time her wedding day arrives.

In the meantime, the days fly by as Michal meets a variety of men for consideration.

“Just stop this madness,” her mother implores. The rabbi says she is counting on miracles: “Even saints wouldn’t expect such things.” But Michal says she isn’t demanding anything from god. “My wedding plan is like a karate chop.”

She has a month until the eighth night of Hanukkah.

The matchmaking, of course, doesn’t always go well. She meets a man who is deaf, and another who at first appears to have vision problems, but turns out to have an interesting philosophy of his own: “If I never look at another woman my wife becomes the most beautiful girl in the world.”

In her travels, she runs into a pop star who takes quite an interest in her when she goes to Ukraine. Meanwhile, she continues to make appearances with her petting zoo, which includes a snake.

The character of Michal is always interesting and sympathetic. Some of the people around her think she may be deluded, but she remains mostly confident, although she does have some moments of doubt.

This could have become a silly sitcom in the hands of a director other than Rama Burshtein, who also wrote the screenplay. Instead, it’s a story of thinking-outside-the-box faith.

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Film critic/reporter since 1985 at Quad-City Times. Society of Professional Journalists, Broadcast Film Critics Association and Alliance of Women Film Journalists member. Member of St. Mark Lutheran Church.