After a lukewarm marriage of over twenty years, a woman appeals to her husband's compassion to obtain the desirable divorce document in front of a court, which proves to be more challenging than she would expect.
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In Israel there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce. Only rabbis can legitimize a marriage or its dissolution. But this dissolution is only possible with full consent from the husband, who in the end has more power than the judges. Viviane Amsalem has been applying for divorce for three years. But her husband Elisha will not agree. His cold intransigence, Viviane's determination to fight for her freedom, and the ambiguous role of the judges shape a procedure in which tragedy vies with absurdity, and everything is brought out for judgment, apart from the initial request.Written by
Vivian wears only one big ring on her forth finger of her left hand throughout most of the movie. Somewhere in the middle of the movie, Vivian is shown sitting at the bench in the "court" and there is also a second ring on her second finger. See more »
Why are you making me run around in circles? Why, Your Honor? Why? Why have I come in and out for years now and nothing's changed? Why? You can't force him to divorce nor to appear, and you can't this or that, and what about me? When will you see me? When I'm too exhausted to stand before you? When? If it were up to you, it could go on for 10 years. I could drop dead in front of you and all you'd see was him! But nobody is above the law. There's a God and there's justice and He'll judge you as ...
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The matter of divorce is an Israel-only problem where power over marriage and divorce is in the hands of the rabbinate. As the IMDb Summary notes, civil marriage and divorce does not exist in Israel. Thus Gett may be incomprehensible to non-Jews outside Israel where marriage is a civil matter but can be licensed to religious authorities. Judaism has this further peculiarity that the man must consent to the bill of divorce (the Get)for the divorce to take place. Normally,this is a formality and Israeli couples can part and resume their lives.
Without a Get, neither spouse can remarry. If the man abandons his wife and leaves the country, the woman is in a legal limbo. This was the subject of an earlier short Israeli film, Ha-Get. In Gett, the man is available but refuses to consent. The Rabbis try all the limited avenues available to force consent (take away the driver's license, jail, etc.) but can't force the man to sign. That is the basis of Gett.
I have given Gett a 9 despite the lack of action and the focus on a less than universal problem. My reason is that, while watching Gett, I found similarities to the classic 12 Angry Men. I realize that it's a different courtroom and type of case on trial but that static tension is present in both films. The second reason is the acting skills displayed, particularly by Ronit Elkabetz. Even if you knew nothing about the divorce problem in Israel, you can read in Ronit Elkabetz' character the agony and frustration that getting a Get can cause.
I highly recommend Gett.
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