The Sound of the Spirit review

Posted: April 10, 2013 in Film Review
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“Sound of the Spirit” is about Rivka (Anna Lasbury), a twelve-year-old Jewish girl who is being raised alone by her father after her mother’s death. She and her dad attend a Messianic Jewish congregation in their community, but when her father suddenly dies, too, Rivka’s life spirals down even further. She is forced to move across town to live with her very traditional Jewish relatives and, against her will, attend their synagogue. To say that her relationship with her uncle (Rob Weidenfeld) is strained is putting it mildly, and she doesn’t get along with her aunt (Faith Yesner) much better. She gets pressure from them, the synagogue’s senior rabbi, even her new friends, to forget about her Messianic congregation and begin a new life at their synagogue. This does not make Rivka happy and sets up the conflict of the film.
It’s an interesting premise indeed, and it is refreshing to see a film that explores the Jewish culture, two sides of it in fact, and not only entertains, but educates as well. The viewer can really get a good sense of Rivka’s struggles, watching her faith deepen to new levels as she touches the hearts of those around her, listening for the still small voice of God, or the “sound of the Spirit.”
This film has wonderful production values, and the cinematography is top-notch. It is a good-looking movie, and for these reasons (and if you want to gain some insight into contemporary Jewish culture), this is a film to see. However, at more than two hours long, and consisting of almost entire dialogue, it is a long watch. There are several scenes that could have been shortened or completely edited out without affecting the story or tone (which is, of course, the ultimate guide when editing). And with so much dialogue, some of the acting is challenged and felt forced.
Ultimately, Rivka has to decide if she will have her bat mitzvah or not, and it’s not quite clear why she could not have had her bat mitzvah at her Messianic Jewish congregation. The film wraps up nicely and overall “The Sound of the Spirit” is a fairly worthwhile effort.

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