Saturday, March 28, 2009

Every Time We Say Goodbye (1986) [PG-13] ***


David Bradley (Tom Hanks) is a minister's son from Montana who volunteered to fly fighters for the British Royal Air Force in North Africa, early in WWII before America entered the war. Wounded in action, he's recuperating in a Jerusalem hospital. Through his British pilot friend Peter, and Peter's fiancée Victoria, David meets Sarah (Cristina Marsillach), a lovely young Sephardic Jewish girl with a large, tightly-knit, religious family. David and Sarah are immediately attracted to one another, although Sarah tries to deny her feelings. Their romance blossoms slowly, during a family dinner, Peter and Victoria's wedding, and several long strolls. Sarah is barely eighteen, and this is her first love affair. She cannot hide her youthful yearnings for David, nor can she ignore her duty to honor the family traditions by marrying within the Sephardic community. Her protective family observes Sarah's growing love for David with anxiety and, because he's American, a Gentile, and is wearing the uniform of the British rulers of Palestine, her parents and brothers try, forcefully but unsuccessfully, to keep the lovers apart.

Hanks and Marsillach have passionate but restrained chemistry, and the movie has a soft, period feeling to it, as though the viewer really had been transported to the Jerusalem of 1942. The movie is an Israeli production with mediocre production values, as observed in the sets, costumes and soundtrack. Hanks gives a good performance, with the possible criticism that he displays too much fresh-faced innocence, and not enough of the cocky but war-weary cynicism one would expect to find in a fighter pilot facing death every day in the skies over North Africa. However, these flaws will be forgiven by forgiving fans of Hanks who enjoyed his early work in films like Big, The ‘Burbs, The Money Pit, Sleepless in Seattle and Splash, and by lovers of low-key WWII romantic dramas such as Casablanca, Yanks and Hanover Street.

Labels: drama, romance, war

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