Agnes (Genevieve Adams) and Levi (Thomas McDonnell) are due to be married and timing couldn’t be better when she announces that they’re going to have a baby. There are a couple of snags though that may be holding them back. Firstly, Agnes is worried that her acting career may be put on hold if casting agents aren’t willing to hire a pregnant woman. Secondly, Levi’s family is Jewish which means that Agnes will have to convert in order to maintain Levi’s family traditions.
The problem is that Agnes is an atheist and despite loving Levi deeply, the conversion may prove to be a step too far.
Simchas and Sorrows is a heart-warming comedy drama directed, written by and starring Genevieve Adams. Seemingly the perfect jumping point for a sweet romantic comedy, audiences may be expecting a culture clash comedy along the same lines as My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
However, the subject of converting to another religion makes it more complicated, but thankfully Adams’ script deals with it sensitively and with some very thoughtful dialogue.
Raising points from both sides, Agnes finds that within a strict Jewish family there are things that she could bring to the table and finds herself giving advice to others. Things which could help lighten the weight carried with such heavy responsibility. However, there are still problems with the story and it may be a little too much for one film.
The discussions of religion and conversion are dealt with delicately, with good performances from Adams and a particularly meaningful speech from Rabbi Cohen (Hari Nef). However, with this being the drive of the film it does feel like other things such as Agnes’ career and issues with family and friends may pad out the film a little too much. Coming in at just under two hours, perhaps the film could have been edited more cleanly, without the need to include everything.
Saying that though, despite its ambitious undertaking, Simchas and Sorrows comes from a good place which has clearly thought through its premise. However, maybe an objective view could have helped to trim it down.
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