Thursday, November 17, 2005

YENTL
Barbra Streisand, Mandy Patinkin, Amy Irving

"Nothing's impossible"


Yentl

I grew up watching Barbra Streisand movies such as Hello Dolly. So I have no qualms about characters suddenly bursting into song in a film.
Yentl is an endearing delightful tale of a young Jewish woman living in Eastern Europe in the 1900s. Strict rules advocate the women aren't supposed to study, let alone have opinions about anything. But Yentl is different, she is always inquisitive about everything and loves to argue about numerous things with her Rabbi father. Her father is a kind hearted soul who willingly teaches her the Talmud but of course only behind closed doors. Upon the death of her dear father, she decides to move away to another town and in her quest to continue her thirst for knowledge, she disguises herself as a young boy. She changes her name to Anshel and is readily taken in as a protege by Avigdor and admitted to a yeshiva. The two are inseparable as study buddies. But poor Yentl/Anshel develops feelings for the dashing Avigdor who is engaged to be married to Hadass. Things get tricky when due to some strange twist, Anshel is forced to marry Hadass. But eventually it all ends happily - it is revealed that she is indeed a woman, Avigdor and Hadass end up together. We see Yentl leaving on a ship for America. A place where women have more rights and where she will be accepted for who she is.
Barbra Streisand's voice is impeccable as she croons some of the most memorable songs such as "Papa can you hear me?". Her acting is flawless too. Mandy Patinkin is brilliant as Avigdor. I know he is a good singer too but fortunately he doesn't get to sing in this movie. It would be too mushy if he did. But hey we do get a glimpse of him naked as he is frolicking in a pond. So that sure makes up for us not hearing his voice.
It is an inspiring film about love, religion and a woman's right to be accepted for what she is and not what society dictates she should be.

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