Focuses on the intensely dramatic and high-stakes responsibilities and decisions that Golda Meir, also known as the ‘Iron Lady of Israel’ faced during the Yom Kippur War.
Golda, is this year’s their finest and darkest hour movie. The 1973 Yom Kippur War was that for Israel and its prime minister, Golda Meir. Israel’s very nationhood was being threatened by the attacking Arab nations. How Meir reacted was a stellar example of leadership in crisis.
Winston Churchill had one during World War II. The 2017 Darkest Hour starring Gary Oldman, in heavy prosthetics and makeup, earned Oldman an Oscar for his portrayal. Helen Mirren, also in heavy prosthetics and makeup, should be in line for the same glorious fate that Oldman achieved.
Putting on a fake nose, other facial prosthetics and a fat suit, imitating Meir right down to duplicating her thick ankles will absolutely. impress those who vote to give out gold statues. Oscar folks love people that can act through all of that “heavy” stuff. It’s known as the John Hurt Elephant Man syndrome, and it has a proven effect on Academy voters.
And, Mirren takes every advantage to act Golda to the hilt. She needs to. There’s lot of panic chatter but no big scale battle scenes. Golda is a story about the mental horrors and bravery needed, as well as steely nerves, to be a leader during war.
All the prosthetics and makeup, even dragging out Meir’s Wisconsin accent syllable by tortured syllable, her chain smoking addiction that caused the cancer that will kill her in 1980, creates a physical and emotional presence, a gravity that dominates the movie. It duplicates the patina of the situation room and the fog of war.
Golda is a film not for the historians but the survivors of Holocaust. and their children and grandchildren. The echoes of that horror overhang everything. Avoiding the fate of the past, and avoiding those choices if the opportunity for genocide presents itself, is an honorable albeit unpopular choice if total victory must mean wholesale slaughter and creating shadow armies of what Meir calls ”orphans and widows.”
Mirren’s portrayal is fully aware of the tragedy of this. It’s full of micro expressions of grief, sadness, disgust, the hand wringing that draws blood, and the ache of carrying on despite cancer treatments that exist only through the necessary walk through nameless toe tags in the hospital morgue.
The flashback structure act as conscience- accusing and ultimately absolving the difficult but right choices. The Yom Kippur war could have easily ended with nuclear devastation (yes, Israel did consider it), the genocidal slaughter of the enemy Egyptian forces (yes, Israel did consider it) but it didn’t. The Yom Kippur war ended in an unsteady peace and a mutual but grudging acknowledgement that Israel has the right to exist. It’s not rising from the ashes, just living with them- and knowing there is honor and dignity in that choice. It’s being ok knowing that, even after your death, your enemy will get a Nobel Peace Prize for a treaty you fully brokered.
Golda gets a 3.5 out of 5 or a B+.
- Michael Kuhn
- Jane Hooks
- Nicholas Martin
- Piccadilly Pictures
- Big Entrance
- Lipsync Productions
- Big Hat Stories
- Hianlo Films
- New Native Pictures
- Bleecker Street
- ShivHans Pictures
- February 20, 2023(Berlinale)
- August 25, 2023(United States)
- United States
- United Kingdom