Slow moving but compelling, Felix and Meira is a Canadian drama concerns a young, unhappy Hasidic wife and mother, Meira (Hadas Yaron), who wants more out of life than the cards she has been dealt. She finds the strictures of her ultraorthodox upbringing are choking her vitality. Meira likes lively popular music – much to her husband’s chagrin – and enjoys drawing.
Felix (Martin Dubreuil), on the other hand, is a rather eccentric, single, secular man estranged from his wealthy father for a decade. He paints but doesn’t seem to do much else. His sister encourages him to see his dad on his death bed … and soon after he passes away. In mourning, Felix has a chance meeting with Meira and her daughter in a bakery. At first she ignores him, but through her frustrations an unexpected friendship develops. It soon blossoms into something more as they open one another’s eyes to the possibilities that lie beyond the way they have lived to this point (effectively isolated and lonely). Trapped by tradition, Meira must decide whether to remain in the only life she has ever known or to give it all up to be with Felix.
This touching tale of self-discovery, directed by Maxime Giroux, was a huge hit on the Festival circuit, winning awards at the Toronto, Chicago and San Sebastian Film Festivals. I can well understand why because it is a thoughtful and reflective work, teasing out the consequences of such a forbidden relationship. There is no easy solution whichever way Meira turns and that, of course, is the whole point.
As I have already suggested, the movie is a slow burn that requires patience, but that patience is well and truly rewarded. Meira blossoms during the course of the picture as she yearns for more and Yaron (Fill the Void) does a fine job playing the role as what could be termed an ingénue.
Felix and Meira is a great movie to see with a friend because it will undoubtedly spark discussion. My only real qualm is that I thought it went on for five minutes too long. In other words, the film called out for an ending a few minutes earlier with a specific scene involving Meira’s husband. See it and see whether you agree with me.
Rated M, Felix and Meira scores a 7½ out of 10.
Director: Maxime Giroux
Cast: Hadas Yaron, Martin Dubreuil
Release Date: 18 February 2016 (limited)
Rating: M – sex scene
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television