If you missed the Israeli series A Body that Works when it was on Keshet, you can see it on Netflix in Israel and in most of the world, including the US, starting on June 12. It features some of Israel’s biggest stars and a wonderful up-and-coming actress in the somewhat soapy story of an upper-class couple with fertility issues who hire a surrogate to carry their child, an arrangement which places stress on their marriage and changes everyone involved in unexpected ways.

The upper-class couple is Elli, a book editor, and Ido, a lawyer, played by Rotem Sela (who starred in the series Lihyot Ita, aka The Beauty and the Baker) and Yehuda Levi (who was in the series Very Important Person and The Arbitrator, and became a celebrity and a heart throb in the movie Yossi & Jagger over 20 years ago).

Lior Raz, the creator and star of Fauda, is cast against type as an arrogant star director trying to write his first book for Elli’s publishing house, who is humbled and upset by her criticism.

But the standout performance is by Gal Malka as Chen, a struggling single mom who can’t support her son as a telemarketer and chooses to become the couple’s surrogate. She is by turns assertive and vulnerable and is particularly good in scenes where she has to deal with the social welfare system when her long-absent ex wants custody of their child. Sela and Malka shared the Best Actress Award in the International Panorama section of the prestigious Series Mania competition in France in 2023.

Under Paris’ – Netflix

Speaking of France, what looks like the dumbest, but possibly one of the most fun, summer Netflix movies is from France, and it’s just about to start streaming. Under Paris can be summarized in a short phrase: There’s a shark in the Seine. Netflix did not release the movie to reviewers by press time, but the trailer looks like a Gallic version of a Roger Corman flick, and that all-time great movie schlockmeister, who passed away last month, would have surely appreciated it. And yes, if you didn’t guess, there’s a competition of beautiful young swimmers in the river just as the shark arrives. Berenice Bejo of The Artist leads a team of scientists who realize they’re gonna need a bigger bateau.

The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US July 16, 2018. (credit: REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSON/FILE PHOTO)

The Bear’ - Disney+

A show about a great chef from a dysfunctional family who tries to transform his late brother’s sandwich shop into a star-worthy fine dining spot, The Bear will release its third season on June 27 in the US, and it will be available in Israel on Disney+ in mid-July. Those who have heard about the show and haven’t yet seen it might want to take a look at the previous seasons, which are still available. The second season is especially good, with Jamie Lee Curtis turning up in two episodes as the unhinged family matriarch.

Night Therapy’ – YES VOD, Sting TV

Yes has a new Israeli series, Night Therapy, coming up at the end of the month on Yes VOD and Sting TV and it looks like a nocturnal version of BeTipul, also known as In Therapy or In Treatment, the series about a psychologist that started the Israeli TV renaissance almost 20 years ago. Night Therapy is also about a therapist who is as troubled as his patients, only in this version, the therapist, Louay Mansour (Yousef “Joe” Sweid), is an Israeli Arab who has become an insomniac following his wife’s suicide.

Wracked with guilt at not having been able to help her, he struggles to raise their children and keep working, until his sister (Lucy Ayoub of Fauda) comes to help out, and he opens a nighttime clinic that works with other troubled souls in the wee hours. Sweid is a wonderful actor who has appeared in many films and series, such as The Spy, Unorthodox, The Bubble, and Tel Aviv on Fire, and I’m looking forward to seeing him here in a leading role.

Pride Month Offerings

It’s Pride Month and there are a number of channels featuring special programming. Cellcom TV is showing Fellow Travelers, a series about two closeted gay men who are working for the government during the McCarthy-era anti-Communist purge, and how their bond remains for the rest of their lives.

Disney+ recently released the movie All of Us Strangers, which tells the story of a gay writer (Andrew Scott, who played the Priest on Fleabag), who is living alone in a creepily empty apartment building in London. Looking for inspiration, he goes to his childhood home, where he lived until his parents were killed in a car accident when he was 12 – and they’re still there, looking just like they did when they were alive, and happy to see him.

It’s an interesting mix of psychological drama and horror movie, reminiscent of Les Revenants, the series about the creepy French zombies who act like everything is normal when they come back home. Claire Foy (The Crown) and Jamie Bell (Defiance) play his parents, and the scenes where he gets to have the conversations he always dreamed of with them are the best. Paul Mescal (Aftersun) portrays a needy neighbor. 

Red White & Royal Blue on Amazon Prime Video is a fun rom-com about the son of the American president and a British prince who fall in love.

The Misfits’ – Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+

Sometimes knowing the backstory of a movie can make it much more interesting to watch, and that is true with The Misfits, which is available on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+.

Directed by John Huston (The Treasure of Sierra Madre), this 1961 movie stars Marilyn Monroe as Roslyn, a troubled woman who stays on in Reno, Nevada, following her divorce, where she meets three men: Gay (Clark Gable), an aging cowboy; Guido (Eli Wallach), a widower who was a fighter pilot in World War II; and Perce (Montgomery Clift), a shy rodeo rider. It was the last movie that Gable and Monroe made: He died of a heart attack after filming was completed, which some blamed on the on-set stress, and Monroe was found dead of an overdose the year after the film’s release.

The screenplay was written expressly for Monroe by her then-husband, playwright Arthur Miller, and it was one of the only screenplays he ever wrote that was produced. While he said he wrote it to give her an opportunity to show her dramatic gifts, according to biographies of the couple, she was unhappy with it and asked Miller for a divorce during the shooting. If you need more gossipy background, Miller met his third wife, photographer Inge Morath, on the set.

For the most part, it is a talky script – until the last section, in which Monroe’s character accompanies the men to the desert to watch them wrangle mustangs. This is quite thrilling to watch, although it’s also upsetting to see the horses harmed (and it seems likely that they were hurt during the making of the movie). Gable gives a great performance, Monroe is always watchable, and Wallach, Clift, and wisecracking Thelma Ritter are fun.

The Sixth Child avoids these pitfalls, although toward the end, some of the resolutions feel too neat. But it’s still a movie where you identify with everyone. You keep turning over their options in your mind, and will likely think about the characters and the story long after the movie ends.

2024-06-08T13:25:28Z dg43tfdfdgfd