No matter how long you nurse a dying relative it is still completely unbearable when they eventually depart this earth, particular when they are one of your children. It has been a week since 25 year Ronnie their only son has died of cancer and his Israeli parents Eyal (Shai Avivi) and Vicky (Evgenia Dodina) and their friends have just finished sitting ‘shiva’ the Jewish ritual mourning period. As everyone is leaving their house for a graveside visit, the next door neighbors Schmulik & Keren Zooler (Sharon Alexander & Carmit Mesilati Kaplan) turn up bearing a salad and their condolences. Both are angrily refused by Eyal because the Zoolers have noticeably been avoiding them ever since Ronnie got ill.
In a fit of pique Eyal now refuses to go to the graveside and instead hops into a a taxi to the Hospice where Ronnie had been staying as he had become obsessed with retrieving his son’s favorite blanket which he fails to find, but he does come across Ronnie’s last prescription of medicinal cannabis when he eagerly takes.
Next day Vicky simply falls back into her regular routine going back to school where a substitute teacher has been standing in for her and is reluctant to let her back in her classroom. She goes for her usual jog and even keeps a long-standing dentist appointment with her hygienist. Eyal on the other hand stays home from work and starts his day by confronting the Kollers about their noisy lovemaking, an encounter that ends badly.
Unable to successful roll a joint out of the cannabis, Eyal phones the neighbor’s slacker son who is just known by his surname, to ask for his help. Zooler (Tomer Kapon) is a few years older than Ronnie, but nevertheless he is content to be the delivery boy for a local Sushi Bar, and practice playing air guitar in his spare time. Eyal is looking to get high as a way of dealing with his grief, whilst his young companion doesn’t need much of an excuse to get completely stoned again.
The two men make an unlikely pair and somehow end up at the hospice again and a touching scene plays out with a very young girl who is a daily visitor to her cancer-stricken mother, and who had befriended both Ronnie & Eyal. This is only disrupted when Vicky calls to remind Eyal that he should have taken care of booking them the two burial plots in the very busy cemetery before they get used up. Despite the mad dash there by Eyal and Zooler, it is already to late but they do run into a funeral service which they stay and listen too, and Eyal starts to begin to realize that being buried right next to their son is not really the issue he should be dealing with right now.
This very sentimental film which plays out mainly over this one day, is the very impressive writing/directing debut of American/Israeli filmmaker Asaph Polonsky. Whilst it may say nothing new about the untimely death of a child, it does show very neatly that even when you are so absorbed by your grief, you still have to contend with the annoying petty hassles of everyday life which never ease up.
Avivi is unquestionably superb as Eyal the dour-faced and sharp-tongue grieving father who is completely unwilling to observe social niceties, and he and Kapon brilliantly cast as Zooler (winning an Israeli ‘Oscar’ as Best Supporting Actor) are a great weird double act to watch.
It may be rather trite to believe that marijuana could in anyway be an answer to dealing with grief, but is sure as hell doesn’t hurt.