Golda – REVIEW

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Golda - Helen Mirren as Israel's only prime Minister.....

The big screen has been awash with actresses transformed and made almost unrecognisable perhaps most famously with Charlize Theron’s Oscar winning turn in ‘Monster’. It’s the same for Helen Mirren who, here, is transformed from a radiant beauty to a hunched up, wiry haired, bushy eyebrowed and thick ankled woman in a process that is almost a direct reversal of that of Amanda Holden arriving at the Britain’s Got Talent make up department. But Mirren is a supremely talented actress and portraying a supremely talented politician Golda Meir dealing with a situation that would test even the most able mind. Israel’s only female prime minster to date finds herself having to answer to an all male Commission as she answers their questions about the decisions she took in October 1973 when Israel faced a two pronged attack from Egypt and Syria instigated by Anwar Sadat during Yom Kippur, Israel’s holiest of days

It sees Golda Meir having to corral her inner circle, again all male, but with the final decision lying with her knowing that her decision will make thousands of widows and orphans in defence of Israel. It’s already going bent for her right from the start as she battles her own diagnosis or lymphonia and the weight of having  suppressed her own inclination to launch a pre-emptive strike and now finding herself on the back foot. The trauma of this is writ large on her face and the film only offers the occasional glimpse of her humanity in a handful of engaging scenes with Liev Schrieber playing Henry Kissinger – by phone she tells him ‘I’m having trouble with the neighbours and later a scene where she serves him homemade borscht that adds some levity to the proceedings.

Directed by the Oscar winning Guy Nattiv and scripted by Nicholas Martin (whose film ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ was a reminder that Hugh Grant is one of our greatest light comic actors) Golda does veer close to TV movie territory and uses perhaps a little too much archive footage. The film is very much Mirren’s as her cabinet are a little one note and towards the end archive clip of Meir with Sadat at a news conference gives a glimpse of how she was both charming and disarming when dealing with men that’s not on show in the film as perhaps there should be.

Golda Meir was an astute and savvy leader and despite her success in handling the conflict she goes on to state that great truism that All political careers end in failure ’  …..and disgrace too if you’re Boris Johnson.  With Meir having passed away on 1978 Golda is a reminder of a great, if controversial leader in an chapter in the country’s history that has repercussions to this day.

related feature: Getting The Duke on screen starring Helen Mirren & Jim Broadbent

related feature: Screenwriter Nicholas Martin discusses his new film, ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ starring Meryl Streep

We chat to director Guy Nattiv about the film and the casting of Helen Mirren….

We chat to screenwriter Nicholas Martin about the film and Helen Mirren….

Here’s the Golda trailer ….

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