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A fascinating, controversial figure gets the bland, safe biopic treatment in Golda, which gives as little insight in former Israëli PM Golda Meïr as it does in the ongoing Middle-Eastern conflict.

Given the choice, the filmmaking team behind Golda probably would have preferred the movie not to be released in the polarising climate of the current Gaza war, but even without that caveat the picture would still be considered a big failure on all fronts.

Using a similar technique to Oppenheimer, Golda employs an inquiry investigation into the 1973 Yom Kippur war to delve into the embattled Golda Meïr's motives and judgement in a conlfict that saw thousands of soldiers killed.

Frustratingly, the movie doesn't succeed in getting under the PM's skin, as for 90 tedious minutes you are pummelled with milquetoast considerations about the cost of war and the risks and rewards of inertia. About what really made the at times hilariously chain-smoking Meïr tick you're none the wiser once the end credits roll.

Only in the exchanges between the titular character and US foreign secretary Henry Kissinger does Golda come alive a little, but otherwise it's slim pickings to find anything worth recommending about the stodgy, uninspired narative and themes. Not even Dame Helen Mirren can lift the quality of the picture, which is saying a lot.

But while the movie reserves some resounding put-downs to future Israëli PM Ariël Sharon (still an ambitious high-ranking general here), Golda's biggest flaw is to not say anything enlightning at all about the vast deterioration of the Israëli-Arab relations in the decades since Golda Meïr's death.

release: 2023

director: Guy Nattiv

starring: Helen Mirren, Liev Schreiber, Camille Cottin, Lior Ashkenazi


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