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Bethlehem (2014)

tomatometer

79

Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 43
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 9

Balancing complex Middle Eastern politics against a universal human drama, director Yuval Adler fashions Bethlehem into a thought-provoking, well-acted character study.

84

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 19
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 3

Balancing complex Middle Eastern politics against a universal human drama, director Yuval Adler fashions Bethlehem into a thought-provoking, well-acted character study.

audience

82

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 255

My Rating

Movie Info

Bethlehem tells the story of the complex relationship between an Israeli Secret Service officer and his teenage Palestinian informant. Shuttling back and forth between conflicting points of view, the film is a raw portrayal of characters torn apart by competing loyalties and impossible moral dilemmas, giving an unparalleled glimpse into the dark and fascinating world of human intelligence. --(C) Adopt

Unrated,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Yuval Adler, Ali Vakad

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All Critics (43) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (9)

Bethlehem's plot is nothing new; it's the oft-told Cain and Abel story updated for the age of suicide bombers and tactical strikes, as a tautly structured mix of melodrama and ticking-clock thriller.

April 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cinematographer Yaron Scharf shoots Bethlehem like a modern western, every grimace, twitch and drop of sweat playing in stark relief against an implacable landscape that has seen much spilled blood.

April 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The politics of "Bethlehem" are complex, but the relationship at its heart is simple: a kid who needs some kind of stability in his life, even if it comes from a most unlikely, and dangerous, place.

March 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A rich, multilayered character study cleverly garbed as an action thriller, Bethlehem is a searing critique of the conflict and its toll - not just in human lives, but also in two peoples' gradual, overall loss of humanity.

March 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bethlehem remains a fairly powerful experience because so much of what we see is inflamed by a violence that seems to have no end.

March 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The story of a young Palestinian, pushed into informing by the Israeli secret police, and forced to navigate conflicting feelings of loyalty, betrayal, self-interest and revenge.

March 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bethlehem negotiates a tangle of loyalties that's as complex as the Middle East itself.

April 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Canada.com
Canada.com

[The similar] 'Omar,' a recent Oscar nominee, is better directed, with assured long takes by an established talent, Hany Abu-Assad ('Paradise Now'). 'Bethlehem' has the better, cleaner script, and the best performance of the two.

March 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Metro
Metro

Because most of the characterizations are so shallow, it's hard to care too much about what happens to whom, so the action scenes become merely mechanical...

March 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Playback:stl
Playback:stl

Extremely suspenseful, with a terse screenplay.

March 14, 2014 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Might not offer new insights into a terrible conflict, but it depicts its human cost on the ground with often starling power.

March 13, 2014 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

As it is, it's a strong and eye-catching debut, but one that doesn't quite mark its ground as the next big thing in Israeli cinema.

March 7, 2014 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist

A harrowing account of how many lives can be ruined when hatred is allowed to rule.

March 7, 2014 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

Bethlehem never really comes together as a revelatory experience until an incredible, wince-inducingly savage finale that leaves a strong aftertaste.

March 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

In a spy story, Bethlehem insists, there are no good guys or bad guys, and no victor-just day-in, day-out deceit and betrayal, the weary work of hate.

March 7, 2014 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

"Bethlehem" comes off like a character study without much character.

March 7, 2014 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

The film wanders a bit when it leaves [its] primary concern, and you can almost feel the film scattering its taut energy, but when it stays with the two leads, one Israeli, one Palestinian, it makes a compelling story.

March 7, 2014 Full Review Source: RogerEbert.com
RogerEbert.com

A disturbing and engrossing film, it offers a dark, pessimistic vision of the difficulties in the region, leaving viewers wondering anew what it will take to find a way out.

March 7, 2014 Full Review Source: The Jewish Advocate
The Jewish Advocate

This fleet-footed suspense film breaks new ground as it retells the story of a Palestinian youth who informs for the Israeli secret service.

March 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Orange County Register
Orange County Register

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Foreign Titles

  • Bethlehem - Wenn der Feind dein bester Freund ist (DE)
  • Bethléem (FR)
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