A somber romance that’s as much about the cultural confluence of city life as it is about the unlikely couple who manage to find each other in it, Maxime Giroux’s Félix and Meira captures the dislocating loneliness of Lost in Translation without leaving its characters’ native Montreal. Félix (Martin Dubreuil) is an agnostic French Canadian loner who’s just realizing how much of an island he’s become; soft-spoken Meira (Hadas Yaron) is an Orthodox Jew who’s failed her traditional husband by bearing him only one child.
There’s a spark between these star‑crossed lovers from the moment they meet, but there’s no definitive answer as to whether the attraction is born from destiny or desperation. Shot in the grayest of winters, this dangerously under-lit film leans on the details of its milieu to disguise its occasional missteps and clichés. (The less said about a scene in which Félix disguises himself a Hassid, the better.) Giroux is careful to avoid judging these characters: While his script implies that unhappiness is a universal form of oppression, it never forgets that Meira has the most at stake. “I no longer have the same feelings I once did during Shabbat,” she confesses to an unsympathetic friend. That may not register with the secular crowd, but Félix and Meira gracefully allows the sentiment to blossom into a broadly moving portrait of the various roles that faith can play in a relationship.
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