REVIEW: Honeymood (LFF 2020)
Giddy newlyweds Noam and Eleanor (Ran Danker and Avigail Harari) arrive in their luxury honeymoon suite to celebrate their wedding night but the discovery of a gift of a ring from Noam’s ex-girlfriend Renana puts those plans on hold. Instead, arguing about what this supposed gift could mean, the couple set out into the city to find Renana and get answers.
Honeymood follows the similar “One Night In…” scenario as seen in films like Before Sunrise, but while in Before Sunrise sees two people slowly connecting and maybe even falling in love, Honeymood sees a newly married couple potentially breaking a part.
It is fascinating because as the film progresses and you see different sides to both Noam and Eleanor, you wonder how they even got together in the first place and if they are actually well suited for each other. He’s quiet and serious, though underneath is a cranky centre, while she’s loud and brash, though maybe a little insecure. It may well be a combination of opposites attract and that there’s more than meets the eye with both of them.
Honeymood is a stronger film when the bickering couple are together. Ran Danker and Avigail Harari are both fantastic and together they bring out the best of each another. Their scenes together go from antagonistic to romantic to humorous and back again, you’re never quite sure what one of them will say or do next and it’s the other’s reaction that makes the situations they end up in believable – and funny.
Almost naturally at one point the pair split up and that’s where Honeymood falters a bit. Other characters are brought in; Noam’s interfering and overbearing parents, different exes, Eleanor’s students and even random passers-by as both Noam and Eleanor are just trying to get back to their hotel. They all have something to say about the couple, their relationship and who they are as people and it’s not often complimentary.
At 3am in a usually bustling city, there are often weird people and weird things happening and Honeymood captures the oddness of the late hour well. People who’d never normally run into each other try and help each other out and then there’s all the young drunk people and the creepy man following a young woman down the street. The most surreal moment comes when Eleanor dances with half a dozen prime ministerial bodyguards. It manages to feel simultaneously out-of-place and also like yeah, obviously that could happen to a flirty bride in her wedding dress walking the streets in the early hours of the morning. It needs to be said that when Eleanor is surround by six large men with assault rifles, I did think things might be taking a sudden dark turn, but thankfully that wasn’t the case.
In fact, Honeymood continues the tradition of the “One Night In…” movies where those people in the city are almost in a magical alternate reality where nothing terrible happens, when in real life walking aimlessly around a city after dark isn’t the wisest of decisions. Or at least no physical harm comes to the main couple, minor characters may still encounter problems.
Honeymood is quirky and funny and while the first half is stronger, the two leads keep you entertained even when they’re apart. The dialogue is full of wry humour and the way the film manages to take multiple unexpected turns but still manages to stay on track is to be commended.