Ha-Sodot (The Secrets)

Critics Consensus

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67%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 15

84%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 559
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Movie Info

Within the Orthodox Jewish Community, the attitudes toward females have remained virtually unchanged for 2,000 years. In this religious-themed drama, accomplished Israeli filmmaker Avi Nesher explores the complications that arise when the relationships between a group of women residing in a midrasha (all female seminary) in Safed turn suddenly volatile. Every girl has a different motivation for enrolling in the midrasha: for Naomi (Ania Bukstein) enrollment in the seminary meant avoiding a marriage that she didn't want, and for the rebellious Michelle (Michal Shtamler) it was simply an effective means for her parents to keep her out of serious trouble. Unlikely allies at first, Naomi and Michelle soon forge a powerful bond that is later threatened by the ailing Anouk (Fanny Ardant). Anouk is a much older woman who has come to Safed in search of redemption. Despite her outward sincerity, however, Anouk is quickly turned away by the powers that be. Realizing that the brilliant Naomi can certainly find the kabbalistic texts that could restore Anouk's purity, compassionate Michelle volunteers her scholarly friend to help the desperate woman in her time of need. While her initial hesitation is soon compounded by the fact that the head mistress forbids both students from any further contact with the mysterious Anouk, Naomi selflessly vows to expunge the sins of Anouk's past even if it means putting her own future at risk.

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Critic Reviews for Ha-Sodot (The Secrets)

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (5)

  • Excessively overwrought and drawn out.

    Jan 19, 2017 | Full Review…

    Robert Koehler

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • One of the most remarkable movies of the year.

    Jan 19, 2017 | Full Review…

    Andrew Sarris

    Observer
    Top Critic
  • Although overlong by about 20 minutes, The Secrets mostly handles its subject matter with grace and charm; its heroine's proud defiance even mitigates a questionably celebratory conclusion.

    Jan 19, 2017 | Full Review…
  • The passionate performances of Ms. Bukstein, Ms. Shtamler and Ms. Ardant lend The Secrets enough emotional solidity to prevent it from entirely dissolving in the suds.

    Jan 19, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Each of the three primary directions of the movie might make a fascinating film, but tied together, they never cohere, and you find yourself sitting through two long hours wondering why you are doing so.

    Jan 19, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The Secrets belongs in a mini-tradition of involving films that limn the border where spiritual and sexual awakenings collide and entwine.

    Jan 19, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Ha-Sodot (The Secrets)

  • Oct 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
    Bruce B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 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.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 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.
    Ina S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 02, 2009
    Søndagsengler (The Other Side of Sunday), but not that great. Lost and Delirious, but not that tragic. Love Sick (Legaturi bolnavicioase), but not that complex. Also, a little bit of Loving Annabelle and all the movie it has behind. A women's religious seminary. A silly (or dumb) and an apparently nice (that later turns out against them) roommates. A good, intelligent and religious daughter of an ultra orthodox rabbi and a cool and rebel rich (that obviously smokes!) girl that comes from France. They get close and end up falling in love. The religious one becomes "openly" and her faith begins to change. The cool girl turns out to be the most traditional as possible. Don´t ask me how the girl that had to beg her father to allow her one year to study and not get married, suddenly decides she won´t get marry and rent an appartment in downtown. With which money once she doesn´t work? Maybe she got an inehitance, yeah. Things that we see only in movies... Well, well, but it´s always a plasure to watch Fanny Ardant, beautiful as ever. <br>
    Rubia Super Reviewer

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