Aviva, My Love (Aviva Ahuvati)
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For years, Aviva Cohen (Assi Levy) has dreamed of becoming a published writer, but she never thought it would happen—until her sister, Anita (Rotem Abuhab), introduced her to Oded Zar (Sasson Gabai), a professor and a best-selling novelist. Oded believes that Aviva has real talent—so he agrees to help her clean up her work and find a publisher.

In order to focus more on her writing, Aviva cuts back on her hours as a cook in a hotel restaurant—but it seems as though there’s always something standing in her way. There’s her unemployed husband, Moni (Dror Keren), and her three kids: one son who’s depressed over a breakup, a daughter who secretly wants to go to college, and another son who does nothing but watch TV. Then there’s her constantly meddling sister, who lives upstairs. Though she really wants to be an actress, Anita isn’t currently working—because she’s trying to focus on getting pregnant with her jealous, and sometimes abusive, husband. Anita is also in the middle of a feud with their crazy mother—who frequently does things like leaning out of the window topless while screaming at passers-by or standing out on the ledge, threatening to jump. Meanwhile, their laid-back father just spends his time in the kitchen, cutting out recipes he’d like to try and meticulously filing them.

Aviva’s needy (and nosy) family makes it difficult for her to write—and it doesn’t help that the family needs the money she’d be earning if she were working full-time. But she’s hopeful that a book deal will bring the money they need—until Oded makes her an offer that’s nowhere near what she’d dreamed it would be.

Aviva, My Love (or Aviva Ahuvati in its native Hebrew) is an Israeli film that tells a beautiful story about a devoted daughter, wife, mother, and sister who spends so much time taking care of everyone else that she no longer knows how to take care of herself. And it’s not until everyone else sorts through their problems (with her help, of course) that she finally learns to stand up for herself.

Though the story is interesting and even inspiring, the highlight of the film is its vibrant characters—from Aviva’s crazy mother to her interfering sister—all of whom are carefully developed and shown in vivid detail. Although the film is technically a drama, the motley cast of dysfunctional family members manages to things light and amusing—and it only seems to slow down for a few heavier minutes as the story comes to its conclusion. But overall, the beautiful story and the strong characters make for a truly enjoyable film. If you get the opportunity to see it, don’t pass it up.

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