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With Jim Sabatini

Nora's Will

Nora's Will
Fernando Lujan, Silvia Mariscal, Cecilia Surarez, Ari Brickman and Veronica Langer

Rated: No rating 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: February 25, 2011 Released by: Menemsha Films

This Mexican import finds its way to more art house venues as it reveals much depth with underlying simplicity, goodness and truth. Even from an unsettling storyline of a long-attempted suicide finally happening just before the start of Passover. It even raises some curiosity perhaps for some who may not be familiar with Jewish customs.
Nora's Will (in Spanish with English subtitles) features Fernando Lujan and Silvia Mariscal, with the latter portraying the titular Jewish character, who, at 63, finishes herself off by ingesting three bottles of pills. Nora has gotten things in "order" for her family's Passover feast starting with a fresh pot of coffee for them in her table-set (high-rise) apartment. And, the refrigerator (with informative Post-Its) is fully stocked.
Her nearby atheistic voyeuristic irascible former spouse of 20 years, Jose (a linchpin in Lujan), is compelled to be a part of the burial process. Because of the time of year, the repressed man has to wait, in part because his son's family have been on vacation. Custom demands that the body be put on ice for five days.
The first feature from Mariana Chenillo produces many oddly engaging returns especially as Jose is unaccustomed and resistant to Jewish funeral rites. He doesn't get along with her rabbi, who isn't appreciative when given a pizza with toppings like bacon, ham and sausage or Christian decorations. Locating an appropriate Jewish cemetery for this type of death gets him more uptight.
This unassuming, laid-back low-budgeter pervades with an oddly endearing quality which obvious will connect most with seniors and some middle-agers. They will like the flash backing providing more resonance to the key relationship, as well as some interesting backup, as a young rabbi, a handicapped cousin and a longtime maid have their moments.
But, where this mature, often wry "Will" finds its rewarding, affectionate way is through Lujan, as many like Jose haven't had a chance to capitalize on making peace with their lives.

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Nora's Will        B+                  B+ 

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