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Next to Her

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Next to Her 15 rating

Chelli has dedicated her life to helping her learning-disabled sister, but finds their special bond tested when she embarks on a romantic relationship.

Drama 2014 89 mins

Director: Asaf Korman

Overview

This remarkable drama from Israeli director Asaf Korman is anchored about a trio of exceptional performances. Chelli (Liron Ben-Shlush) has dedicated her life to helping her sister, Gabby (Dana Ivgy), a 24-year-old girl with severe learning disabilities. The pair live together in a dingy apartment, existing in an unhealthily symbiotic bubble where everything from toothbrushes to baths are shared.

After a social worker insists that Gabby is enrolled in a day care centre where she forges new friendships and routines, Chelli feels abandoned and embarks on a romance with a colleague, Zohar. They fall in love and he moves in, slowly helping her to find a healthy distance from her sister. However, when it becomes apparent that Zohar and Gabby have their own special bond, Chelli's possessive streak is triggered and the extent of her co-dependence is revealed. Director Korman inspires wonderful performances from his wife Liron Ben Shlush as Chelli (who also co-wrote the film based on her real-life relationship with her sister) and Dana Ivgy, a well-known personality in Israel whose position as an able actress portraying a disabled character could have left her open to criticism. Thankfully such censure would be profoundly misplaced for this sensitive, moving and naturalistic portrayal of how family ties can both bind and unravel us.