Meduzot (Jellyfish) (2008)



Critic Consensus: Lyrical, well-crafted and inventive, Jellyfish smartly mixes comedy, drama and magic realism.

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Movie Info

Israeli co-directors Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen's ensemble comedy drama Meduzot (aka Jellyfish, 2007) weaves together multiple seriocomic tales of intersecting lives, set against the deep azure backdrop of Middle Eastern seascapes. Affording equal emphasis to each tale, Keret and Geffen first hone in on Batya (Sarah Adler), a young woman employed as a caterer, whose firm places strongest emphasis on weddings. As the film opens, Batya breaks up with her boyfriend, and struggles with her supremely dysfunctional, argumentative parents, who correspond with her only by leaving periodic messages on her answering machine. Her life takes a most unpredictable turn when she happens upon a tearstained little girl (Nikol Leidman) who wanders out of the ocean, wearing only a pair of panties and toting an inner tube -- origin unknown. The foundling gravitates magnetically to Batya and refuses to separate from her. Meanwhile, at Batya's latest assignment -- the Hebrew wedding of Michael (Gera Sandler) and Keren (Noa Knoller) -- the gorgeous bride breaks a leg while attempting to escape from a locked toilet, thus inevitably delaying her honeymoon in the Caribbean. Also present at the wedding reception is a Filipino caregiver, Joy (Ma-nenita De Latorre), saddled with an array of grouchy, snotty elderly clients who make verbal barbs in Hebrew that she cannot understand. In her private life, Joy struggles with geographical estrangement from her young son -- who still resides in the Philippines -- and remains completely aware of the irony that she's caring for nonfamilial dependents but virtually abandoning her own flesh and blood. And in yet another substory, Malka (Zaharira Harifai), one of Joy's octogenarian clients, gripes and moans about her own actress daughter's participation in an "experimental" version of Hamlet but demonstrates her own ability to reassure and encourage Joy. The ocean -- recurrent throughout the picture -- adds an allegorical layer to the proceedings; in the hands of Keret and Geffen, it symbolizes the narrative juggle of multiple lives, and the lack of self-determinism inherent in any -- the idea that all are wholly subject to the caprices of fate. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi
Comedy , Drama
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Sarah Adler
as Batya
Gera Sandler
as Michael
Noa Knoller
as Keren
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Critic Reviews for Meduzot (Jellyfish)

All Critics (60) | Top Critics (22)

Jellyfish, with its pervasive sense of mysticism, is anything but standard, predictable storytelling. What is it exactly? Well, you might as well ask a jellyfish.

Full Review… | August 8, 2008
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Thematically, it's extremely precise, and one of its most compelling themes is the failure, or uselessness, of language.

Full Review… | August 7, 2008
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Most of the first hour passes without much more forward motion than its namesake. But in the corners and niches of that slow development, we get to know a handful of people, crisply drawn in fast sketches.

Full Review… | June 5, 2008
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

A little piece of cinematic poetry.

Full Review… | May 23, 2008
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Provides a diverting portrait of modern-day Israel, as the filmmakers eschew history, politics and religion to focus instead on more intimate and universal issues of fate, loss and the longing to connect.

Full Review… | May 16, 2008
Washington Post
Top Critic

A brief, haunting tale of three women in contemporary Tel Aviv, Jellyfish seems to float in its viewers' consciousness; you'll remember its images long afterward.

May 16, 2008
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Meduzot (Jellyfish)

I agree with the positive remarks about this very good movie. Two things that lingered in my memory were: the under water scene where Batya was reaching out to the little girl and the haunting closing music.

Glenn T
Glenn T

A very fine film co-directed by one of Israel's most compellingly offbeat writers, Etgar Keret (whom I met once, actually). Despite a few clichés here and there, this is overall a quite enthralling work. And it's great to see veteran Israeli actors Assi Dayan and (especially welcome) Zaharira Harifai.

Harry E
Harry E

Enchanting and intriguing. The Israeli version of the converging story line executed quite effectively.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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