Once I Was (The Matchmaker)

Critics Consensus

Once I Was (The Matchmaker) nimbly juggles light dramedy and real-world horror in a coming-of-age story with an impactfully unusual perspective.



Reviews Counted: 25

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Average Rating: 3.9/5

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Movie Info

Arik, a teenage boy growing up in Haifa in 1968, gets a job working for Yankele Bride, a matchmaker. Yankele, a mysterious Holocaust survivor, has an office in back of a movie theater that shows only love stories, run by a family of seven Romanian dwarves in the seedy area by the port. Yankele introduces Arik to a new world, built on the ruins of an old one. As Arik begins to learn the mysteries of the human heart through his work with Yankele, he falls in love with Tamara, his friend Beni's cousin. Tamara has just returned from America and is full of talk of women's rights, free love and rock and roll. The disparate parts of Arik's life collide in unexpected, often funny and very moving ways as he lives through a summer that changes him forever. Avi Nesher's latest film mixes comedy with drama as it tells a coming-of-age story unlike any you've ever seen before. -- (C) Official Site

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Adir Miller
as Yankele Bride
Maya Dagan
as Clara Epstein
Don Navon
as Yozi Burstein
Dror Keren
as Meir the Librarian
Tuval Shafir
as Arik Burstein
Eli Jaspan
as Uncle Nadgi
Yael Leventhal
as Tikva Abadi
Neta Porat
as Tamara
Yarden Bar-Kochva
as Nili Burstein
Kobi Farag
as Moshe Abadi
Tom Gal
as Benny Abadi
Eyal Shechter
as Arik Burstein - Adult
Kobi Farag
as Moshe Abadi
Tom Gal
as Benny Abadi
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News & Interviews for Once I Was (The Matchmaker)

Critic Reviews for Once I Was (The Matchmaker)

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (13)

  • The shadow of the Holocaust hangs over this unique Israeli coming-of-age film, which deals with a special kind of survivor's guilt.

    Mar 14, 2013 | Rating: 3/4
  • Nesher ... has a populist touch, showing a sure hand with the numerous subplots and never allowing us to lose sight of his characters' humanity, even the mostly pathetic villain of the piece.

    Dec 14, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • This is a sweet, bittersweet comedy, well-executed if perhaps a little heavy on anecdotage.

    Dec 13, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A different kind of coming-of-age story, one infused with the lingering horrors of the Holocaust.

    Dec 6, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • A movie that's somehow delightful even as it visits devastation.

    Oct 19, 2012 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • The film intelligently portrays how, even years later, the memories of trauma can be enough to inhibit a person from finding happiness - and consequently, how essential love is.

    Aug 17, 2012 | Full Review…

    Joel Arnold

    Top Critic

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