It’s the middle of the night and newlywed couple (Ran Danker and Avigail Harari) are wandering down the empty streets of Jerusalem, arms linked, carrying a Roomba. They’re on their way to return a ring given to the groom as a wedding gift by his ex-girlfriend. It’s not the happily-ever-after beginning to their marriage they were hoping for, and the night ahead is only going to raise more questions of whether tying the knot was the right decision for them both.
Writer-director Talya Lavie’s Honeymood is a delightfully charming and awkward meditation on romance, love and relationships that effortlessly moves from wryly funny to powerfully honest without ever letting its spark be extinguished. At the centre of it all are the newlyweds. There’s Noam, who’s quietly reserved but moody, and Elanor, a vivacious dreamer. Though both harbour doubts about their future together and lingering feelings for their exes, Danker and Harari’s intoxicating chemistry proves that opposites do attract. From the moment the audience sees the couple playfully stumble into their luxury hotel suite it’s impossible not to fall in love with them.
Moreover, Lavie is a skilled screenwriter, composing leads that are more than the two-dimensional punchlines that often populate other contemporary comedies. Noam and Elanor are not caricatures, but rather real people coping with a huge change in their lives in their own ways. This makes the proceeding events resonate all the more – even the parts that are a little outlandish.
Likewise, the director’s grounded approach makes the comedy hugely effective. Lavie is fully aware of the quirky, cringey nature of the film’s premise and makes the most out of every situation and character in order to help bring out the humour organically. While the jokes may not leave audiences laughing out loud throughout, they will likely leave you with a huge grin on your face – and that’s even better.
As the couple’s late-night antics continue, more plot threads are thrown into the mix. At first, these new additions are somewhat distracting to the quarrelling newlyweds and their fantastic chemistry. But, through clever narrative curveballs, everything comes together by the end in unexpected ways, making for a satisfying conclusion.
A thoroughly delightful and heartfelt outing, Lavie’s Honeymood is the cinematic equivalent of a perfect midnight stroll.
Honeymood does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2020 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.