Ha-Sodot (The Secrets) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Ha-Sodot (The Secrets) Reviews

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September 24, 2013
Ha-Sodot is one of the most profound and thought-provoking films I have seen this year. Naomi has been raised in a religious and patriarchal family and is already engaged. To gain more time before the marriage (which she isn't desiring either), she tells her dad she wants to continue studying for a longer period. She therefore attends a midrasha (all female seminary), where she meets another girl, Michel, who comes from a completely different background: she lives in France in a liberal family, and is sent by force to the midrasha.

The two girls are completely different from one another, but they are both very intelligent, and forge a great friendship, which is tested by the relationship they develop with Anouk, a woman which they visit weekly as a community service activity.

In order to help Anouk, who is terminally ill and has arrived to the town seeking redemption, Naomi has to read some cabalistic texts (which is something reserved for men in the conservative society in which she lives), and they have to undergo some risky adventures in order to complete the whole "redemption procedure". Naomi puts her own future at risk in order to do this, and does unthinkable things for someone conservative.

What is truly great is the intense friendship between both girls, which seems to be something more at a given point. A friendship that gets tested to the limit... but survives.
February 3, 2012
Not quite what I expected... many storylines.... still a good watch...
August 12, 2011
An absolutely stunning movie about the power of faith, friendship and why standing up for what you believe is vital. Yes that may sound like a kilo of Swiss Gruyere, but it isn't. Let's be honest, those who know me know how I often feel about religion. The character development is slow and touching, the story beautiful and very moving. I don't appear to have enough superlatives for this one. Look for it on DVD on US or French websites (note it's in Hebrew). Don't miss it.
July 16, 2011
I decided to watch this because I thought it was a 'lesbian' film which it kind of is but mostly isn't. Moving look at the roles and expectations of women in an orthodox Jewish environment and what you need to give up to remain traditional AND what you give up to forge your own path.
½ February 20, 2011
flawed, but very enjoyable, intriguing watch. the ending was frustrating, but oh well.
amazing chemistry between the two stunning female leads, was a lil sorry when the film ended.
nice theme song too. shall endeavor to watch more israeli flicks.
½ November 7, 2010
That's what I meant with "normal life" :S
Super Reviewer
October 26, 2010
This Movie carries many names The Secrets, Ha-Sodot, Emeth,or Los secretos. Its one of the most outstanding movies I've seen this year. Follows the life of 2 young Jewish girls as they are sent to a Jewish seminary for women in the ancient Kabalistic seat of Safed, During there time there one meets a man whom she is fond of while falling in love with her roommate, at the same time they try to save and prepare a dying women for heaven, all under traditional Jewish Law, Stellar performances. This movie won many awards at the 2007 Awards of the Israeli Film Academy . 5 stars
Super Reviewer
½ September 27, 2010
In "The Secrets," Naomi(Ania Bukstein) wants some time, following the death of her mother, to think, so she postpones her wedding to Michael(Guri Alfi) and travels to the Truth and Knowing Seminary in Safed to study. On the way there, she meets fellow student Sheine(Talli Oren). Sigi(Dana Ivgy) may have little idea how to act in such sacred quarters but that is nothing compared to Michelle(Michal Shtamler) who bristles at the seminary's commitment to a soup kitchen where she starts a water fight. While model student Naomi does not get along with her, she does need her to translate when they bring food to Anouk(Fanny Ardant) who is dying.

To its credit, "The Secrets" handles its exploration of provocative subject matter, set in the world of Orhodox Judaism in Israel, with a good deal of sensitivity. As unpredictable as the movie is, there is also an occasional lack of logic in the plot twists. The secrets of the title go beyond those the female characters may be hiding to those that are being kept from them by the men in the sacred texts that they are discouraged from seriously studying and instead encouraged towards marrying and raising a family. What the movie does encourage all to do is to forgive, no matter the sin or the beliefs involved.
November 2, 2009
Very beautiful and touching movie, love it!
Super Reviewer
½ October 25, 2009
Touching, multi-faceted film with fantastic performances by amazingly impressive (and beautiful) actresses. Sometimes too many issues are cramped into one film, and occassionaly the melodrama is a bit over the top, but overall a great film.
½ October 10, 2009
A deeply moving tale of redemption, regret and religion, ‚??The Secrets‚?? focuses on young Hasidic Jew women on a retreat to study their faith. Naomi is a deeply religious woman who goes on the retreat willingly, to postpone a marriage to a conservative, openly sovinistic student of the faith. Michelle is sent there by her father who thinks she has been corrupted by a too liberal way of thinking in France. The two women develop an uneasy but gradually deepening and ultimately intimate relationship.

There is enough ground to cover with themes of feminist liberation and homosexuality in a strictly patriarchal society, but those are just a few of the complex subjects ‚??The Secrets‚?? explores. The most powerful of those is about guilt and the need for a spiritual redemption. This is accomplished by a touching storyline about a dying woman (amazing Fanny Ardant) who is denied a chance to repent her sin of murder by the religious community.

‚??The Secrets‚?? is a movie that has nothing easy or simple in it. It‚??s a tale about people‚??s relationships with the divine but the plot relies less on divine intervention than most. The need for ritual cleansing is difficult for me to relate to as a nonbeliever, but here it is depicted so honestly and openly that I felt very much moved by it. That goes for everything else in the movie as well. This is indeed a truly deep and complex drama containing enough smart material for several films. And it carries all that substance with wisdom and grace.
½ September 9, 2009
Nice movie, filled with taboo, great performances. As usual, disappointing ending. Kind of rushed I'd say, even though it's a long movie, too long actually; excluding the ending, I thought it was very slow-paced. Anyways, a good movie. Great story and very sexy.
½ August 31, 2009
Gives good insight on jewish culture and a lot to think about. Made me glad to live in such a free society without too strict gender roles. But is it wrong to choose to live the way your culture dictates over love? Is the need for acceptance all that counts in the end? A very good movie.
½ August 9, 2009
So gentle, so soft ...
August 5, 2009
A very different film with many storylines converging into one; the acting is superb, and the story is truly courageous.
½ June 23, 2009
Whenever it comes to movies which have religious orthodox Jewish characters I get a bit more critical. That being said, I think overall the characters portrayed were very realistic. There is a heavy feminist 'Judaism thinks women are inferior' hint to the film, which is not true, but it's actually more about simple acceptance of one person to another in need, and the hard-headed types of people who can get in the way. I would definitely recommend seeing it if you have an interest in religion, though if you're not already familiar with Judaism I'd definitely check some facts that you may think are not 'kosher'. Chances are they were exaggerated.
½ May 27, 2009
Thought provoking, moving and well-acted - I was completely absorbed and was sorry that it ended. But while it was sensitive to the lifestyle of ultra-Orthodox women yeshivah students, two things bothered me: (1) the stereotypical inference that women who want to devote their lives to study (a la men/male rabbis) are necessarily gay and therefore uninterested in men and (2) a similarly stereotypical inference that ultra-Orthodox men scholars are necessarily misogynists.
May 20, 2009
a movie that you really have to follow to understand. both because its subtitled and because it has an intriguing plot. i learned a lot about the Jewish religion and the acting was on point.
½ May 19, 2009
Very interesting.. I learned so much about little details of religious traditions and customs. It was interesting to note that they always kiss rim of door before entering.
Very strong acting of two main actresses as well as French woman who strongly resembles Candice Bergen.
It was powerful that somewhat looked-down upon relationship of two women can build and somewhat sustain.
May 7, 2009
Wonderful movie that tackles how Jewish orthodoxy affects women (in particular). Highly recommend.
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