Arts > The Honourable Woman

03 July 2014 | by John Morrish

The Honourable Woman


It’s good for screenwriters to withhold information and keep the audience guessing. But they still have to tell a story.The Honourable Woman (3 July) illustrates that dilemma. This is a big-budget, high-­profile drama serial about the Israel-Palestine problem, stylishly shot and artfully directed, with a top-notch cast headed by a Hollywood actress, Maggie Gyllenhaal. But you really need to pay attention, and even then it is not always clear what is going on. We are in a world of shifting allegiances and uncertain identities. Gyllenhaal plays Nessa Stein, daughter of a Jewish arms manu­facturer. As a child, she and her brother Ephra saw him murdered in a crowded restaurant: they barely reacted, though spattered with his blood. In later life, equally implausibly, the pair use


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