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WORKING WOMAN gets 6/10 Workplace tensions


Directed by Michal Aviad

Starring Liron Ben Shlush, Menashe Noy, Oshri Cohen

6/10

Although much of this new Israeli film is about a woman’s regular working life, it’s the short and shocking moments of sexual assault that colour these otherwise ordinary moments with strong tension and unease, though for its impressive treatment of such important subject matter, Working Woman doesn’t quite a find a way to appropriately cap it all off.

Orna (Liron Ben Shlush) is a hard-working employee to say the least: she is seen at work, at lunch, and at home almost constantly attending to her real estate job selling high-rise ocean front apartments. Her job looks more prestigious than her pay, as her living circumstances with her family have them in a rather tight apartment, but she enjoys home-life with her kids and husband, Ofer (Oshri Cohen), whom she is financially supporting as his restaurant business is in jeopardy.

She works closely with her boss, Benny (Menashe Noy), who simultaneously pushes her to work well and make great sales, as well as remind her of her family needs. He wants to get closer to her, uncomfortably so, but she wants to keep formal in her work environment. It’s after he makes his first forceful pass, where he immediately apologises and she reluctantly forgives him, that the tension of when this is going to happen again, and then escalate, becomes palpable.

It’s during this time that the film evokes so much tension from otherwise everyday work-life, but as it continues with its depiction of this working relationship, it begins to tighten the likelihood of this happening again. That this film is crafted in a docu-drama style, with no music and very little flashiness, makes seeing these events all the more real, as if they’re occurring right before us.

But after all this, what ultimately lets down the film is its ending. To end after such confronting content would be tricky to pull off, though Working Woman really lets its audience down with a minor and hardly cathartic resolution. There’s a triumphant sense in it before cutting to credits, though the feeling should be more of despondency as a small achievement of Orna’s hardly has any impact on the wide-ranging topic of workplace sexual assault.

After so much carefulness and deliberation in evolving these characters, Working Woman deflates a great deal of what it has built up with a final act that certainly doesn’t go as strongly or with the amount of anger such subject matter deserves.

DAVID MORGAN-BROWN

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