Yentl - No wonder he loves her .....So would I....
Jun 6, 2001
Cons: STREISAND A BOY? NOT
The Bottom Line: Great production, strong characters, fantastic musical score - what else do you need?
At a time when neither power nor love are freely offered to women, Yentl (Streisand) approaches the apex of her life. Raised by her father to be a free-thinking woman, she is required to hide her thirst for knowledge as Jewish law prohibits women from obtaining the power of the Torah. Upon the death of her father, Yentl decides to break all codes and disguising herself as a young Jewish boy, she embarks on her quest for knowledge.
Having always been sheltered, but loved, by her father, she is unaware of the tribulations of the real world. She has never ventured into the world of love and compassion. Thrown together with her mentor, Avigdor (Mandy Patinkin), Yentl faces not only her unquenchable thirst for knowledge but her awakening desires. With Avigdor, Yentl can explore the things she has always wondered about since he is a great scholar. Yentl unfortunately falls in love with Avigdor, who is not aware she is a woman. Oddly enough, Avigdor has strange thoughts and ideas regarding Yentl that are not approached until she finally confesses to him she is a woman, but that is later in the story.
Avigdor is engaged to Hadass (Amy Irving) but her parents do not care for him. Rather than see Hadass taken by someone that would not appreciate her, he asks his friend Yentl to marry her. Hadass is both confused and pleased by these circumstances. You must remember this is a time when women's rights are dictated by their families (as if that has changed!). Hadass suddenly finds herself taken with Yentl and their marriage and the following circumstances have quite a bit of comedic relief to an otherwise heavy work.
After finally confessing to Avigdor that she is a woman and leaving Hadass to her own trials, Yentl travels to America to seek the goals she cannot obtain in her repressed country.
Sitting on the sidelines Originally a short story, Streisand has turned this tale into a musical production. I am a Streisand lover but even I found it hard to accept her as a young boy. I did think the production and musical scores were a bonus to the film.
I particularly liked the way they kept weaving "No Wonder" through the different segments of the movie. First with Yentl seeing how Avigdor could be taken with Hadass because of her devotion to his needs, then with the change when Hadass now is catering to Yentl, ....No wonder her needs her, he loves her, no wonder ...so would I... Reflecting on the fact that Hadass is the perfect mate for any person.
Her poignant rendition of "Pappa, Can You Hear Me", sung after her fathers death when she is alone under the stars brings tears to your eyes as she realizes she is now on her own and has only his memories to guide her. The final score "A Piece of the Sky" bleeding into "Pappa" as she sails to her new life shows that hope and determination will help you obtain your dreams.
Streisand, never one of Hollywood's favorites, has given a piece of herself in this film - financially, physically and emotionally. Few wish to honor her with this tribute but few can deny that she is a powerful force both in this film and in her other works. Oddly enough, this movie though nominated for many Academy Awards, shunned the artist, but did not deter her.
Mandy Patinkin and Amy Irving gave wonderful performances in this movie. Amy, as always, is breathtakingly beautiful and the perfect Jewish wife.