Two newlyweds arrive in their shiny hotel suite, exhausted but ecstatic, surrounded by gifts and luxury. Eleanor (Avigail Harari) discovers a hidden wedding gift in her husband Noam’s (Ran Danker) pocket and her insatiable curiosity kills the mood. When she finds a compass ring from his ex (Yael Folman), she drags him out into the night, determined to return it.

As the daylight propriety of their wedding is replaced by nighttime anarchy, Eleanor and Noam wrestle with the prospect of settling down, manifesting chaos wherever they go. Like their unwilling Roomba, the audience is taken on this odd nocturnal romp around Jerusalem, with physical comedy accompanied by playful piano. Harari’s wide-eyed melodrama and Danker’s exasperation make them a charming combination, but without more distinctive and developed character traits, the attractive couple gets lost in the madness.

Honeymood has everything: encounters with exes, drugs with strangers, dance sequences, nerd fights, fairy lights, blessings and curses. But in spite of these promising elements, after an irrational jumping-off point, all these hijinks aren’t wild enough to be memorable. The bemused friends and raucous acquaintances contribute nothing to the story beyond easy, and in one case borderline offensive, punchlines.

What makes a love story truly successful is the relatable humanity at its heart, whether it be Before Sunrise, When Harry Met Sally or Bridesmaids, and writer-director Talya Lavie is so concerned with creating disorder that she loses sight of her central characters. The night is too long and aimless, making for an exhausting 90-minute watch.

As a comedy, Honeymood is light and easy to follow—a palate cleanser before the heavier films of the festival. But as a romance, the surface-level chatter and the randomness detract from the potential for honest conversation, which is at the heart of so many of its predecessors. 



CAST: Avigail Harari, Ran Danker, Yael Folman, Elisha Banai, Orly Silbersatz, Meir Suissa, Ana Dubrovitski

DIRECTOR: Talya Lavie

WRITER: Talya Lavie

SYNOPSIS: When a new bride finds a ring in her groom’s pocket, her obsession with returning it takes the newlyweds on an absurd trek around Jerusalem.