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Fill the Void (2013)


Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 67
Fresh: 59
Rotten: 8

Critics Consensus: Graceful, complex, and beautifully layered, Fill the Void offers a sympathetic portrait of an insulated culture by exploring universal themes.

Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 23
Fresh: 21
Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: Graceful, complex, and beautifully layered, Fill the Void offers a sympathetic portrait of an insulated culture by exploring universal themes.


Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 3,931


Movie Info

Eighteen-year-old Shira (Hada Yaron) is the youngest daughter of the family and is about to be married off to a very promising young man of the same age. On Purim, her twenty-eight-year-old sister, Esther (Renana Raz), dies during childbirth, leaving her husband to care for the child and postponing Shira's promised match. When the girls' mother finds out that Yochay may leave the country with her only grandchild, she proposes a match between Shira and the widower, which leaves Shira to choose … More

PG (for mild thematic elements and brief smoking)
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Rama Burshtein
In Theaters:
Sep 24, 2013
Box Office:
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Fill the Void

All Critics (67) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (59) | Rotten (8)

This is an extraordinary first film, nerve-tingling in its intensity, and assembled with a finesse and control even the great Austrian director Michael Haneke might envy.

Full Review… | December 9, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

Beautiful and mysterious, the[se] first glimpses are an ideal primer for the Israeli film, which never rushes to spell out the meanings of its subtle and quiet moments.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Washington Post
Top Critic

It's an artful, character-driven drama that constitutes a minor miracle of empathy.

Full Review… | July 11, 2013
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Burshtein creates a one-of-a-kind portrait that nonetheless transcends its setting, and even its worldview; the dynamics are global.

Full Review… | June 20, 2013
Top Critic

Burshtein has achieved a gripping film without victims or villains, an ambiguous tragedy drawing on universal themes of love and loss, self-sacrifice and self-preservation.

Full Review… | June 20, 2013
Boston Globe
Top Critic

[Burshtein] vividly depicts a clannish culture that is likely to feel foreign and perhaps off-putting to generations that came of age in a progressive post-feminist era.

Full Review… | June 14, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Emotional issues an an insular world

Full Review… | May 23, 2014
Movie Habit

A man and a woman, alone, on a path at night, forbidden to touch, speak, confront, describe passion: the man moves closer. That's all. The smallest of moves, infinitesimal motion. The world tilts on its axis.

Full Review… | April 9, 2014
Newcity entertaining yet uneven debut from a promising new filmmaker...

Full Review… | February 28, 2014
Reel Film Reviews

As opposed to the bleak view of sexual subjugation in Kadosh, Amos Gitai's 1999 film about Hasidic marriage, Fill the Void sees Burshtein fortrightly and wittily asserting that this is how her community lives.

Full Review… | February 6, 2014
Sight and Sound

A rare and illuminating glimpse of contemporary Hasidic life against the backdrop of ritual, Purim, marriage, and death.

Full Review… | February 4, 2014
Spirituality and Practice

Few films in recent memory better capture the heartbreak of loss, the agony of indecision or the burden of familial duty.

Full Review… | December 19, 2013
Concrete Playground

An intelligent and moving examination of the possibilities of personal freedom within the strict confines of religion and tradition.

Full Review… | December 16, 2013
Observer [UK]

There is perhaps something ultimately undeveloped about it, but the film is a well acted, well presented piece of work.

Full Review… | December 12, 2013

Fill the Void is as well-versed in the rules of matchmaking as a Jane Austen novel, and it bends them as artfully as wicker.

Full Review… | December 12, 2013
Daily Telegraph

Its last five minutes are so extraordinarily enigmatic, you're certain the subject of innocence, guilt and attraction has been addressed on a deep level.

Full Review… | December 12, 2013
Financial Times

A fascinating and emotionally gripping drama with a sharply written, understated script and a pair of terrific performances from Hadas Yaron and Yiftach Klein.

Full Review… | December 12, 2013

A nuanced kitchen-sink depiction of an Israeli Hassidic community which zeroes in on the dilemma of an 18-year-old girl named Shira.

Full Review… | December 12, 2013
Little White Lies

With honesty and sensitivity, this Israeli drama takes us into an unfamiliar subcuture, letting us experience aspects of life in an Orthodox Jewish community that we've probably never even imagined before.

Full Review… | December 12, 2013

A warm, watchful slant on marital mores in an ultraorthodox Jewish community.

Full Review… | December 9, 2013
Total Film

In the end, it's hard to determine whether Burshtein is celebrating or critiquing the insularity and strict traditions of the community that she herself joined in her 20s - but presumably that's part of the point.

Full Review… | December 9, 2013
The List

Although it lacks a little of the emotional heft of Haifaa al-Mansour's work, it's a well acted and delicately told tale.

Full Review… | December 9, 2013
Empire Magazine

..heir funny hats and weird hairdos don't camouflage the recognisable human characteristics we readily understand. For me, that is the film's most enduring and most important message

Full Review… | November 21, 2013
Urban Cinefile

Eventually reveals itself to be a sort of Jane Austen romance -- a tale of matchmaking and marriage motivated by the ritual and decorum of Haredi Judaism in modern Tel Aviv rather than by the social strictures of 19th-century England.

Full Review… | August 30, 2013
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Burshstein has managed a small miracle with his gentle film ... . A movie about matters of faith that manages to be neither condescending nor smug ... a surprisingly accessible and satisfying experience.

Full Review… | August 16, 2013
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Audience Reviews for Fill the Void


Yet another culture that I do NOT get. Poor, poor girl. This is a roughly made Hebrew film. Interesting to watch. Kind of slow...

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


I feel that the film is definitely worth watching although some of the scenes and the ending seem to be end at the wrong moment; when you really want to find out what a characters says next or what he/she does. I suppose these could be only minor flaws in an otherwise fantastic film, but these details did make it anticlimactic for me. Perhaps this brings a welcomed ambiguity that is lacking so often in many films. Despite this, I cannot deny the emotional charge with which the leads bring to their performance. I keeps you captivated.

Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

In "Fill the Void," Esther(Renana Raz) and Yochay(Yiftach Klein) are on the verge of expecting their first child when they also receive the happy news that Esther's younger sister Shira(Hadas Yaron) has just gotten engaged. And then tragedy strikes as Esther dies in childbirth. In the meantime, Shira and her mother Rivka(Irit Sheleg) help out best they can by taking care of the baby. However, that might not be for much longer as Rivka hears about a marriage proposal for Yochay from a widow in Belgium.

"Fill the Void" is a gently subversive movie about the practice of arranged marriages in the Hasidic community in Israel that succeeds by leaving more things unsaid from its great opening scene in a supermarket to its ambiguous final shot. To be fair, it could be said that the parents only have the best interests of their children at heart but what happens when they don't? For example, Rivka does the wrong thing for the right reasons while Shira does the right thing for the wrong reasons. None of which will matter if everybody is not happy in the long run.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


The film works for two reasons. The first is that its a mostly engaging family drama, and the second is that its an interesting introduction to the complex world of Orthodox Judaism without ever feeling like a lesson that's being forced on the audience.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

Fill the Void Quotes

If I forget thee oh Jerusalem let my right hand lose it's skill.
– Submitted by Frances H (8 months ago)

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