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  • Gareth Crook

Golda (2023) - 6/10

Watching this at the end of 2023 seems quite poignant. Eerie to think this was in production long before the events of October 7th. When has Israel not been at war though. Even since before its existence as a state, it’s been under threat. That’s what Golda is about. Specifically the Yom Kippur War in 1973. After some plotted history of previous wars. We meet Golda Meir (Helen Mirren). But for the determined stare, she looks like a chain smoking little old lady. Which she was, she’s also prime minister of Israel. Despite the unassuming image and the health issues, she’s a formidable force and Mirrens portrayal, even with some seriously heavy make up, feels honest and authentic. Yom Kippur is an important date in the Jewish calendar, it’s the holiest day, a time of repentance… and fasting. Not a time for war. However, intelligence tells them war is coming. Despite this, they’re caught off guard by attacks from multiple sides. If you don’t like Israel, don’t bother watching Golda or reading any further, unless you’d like your eyes opened. “We’ve got trouble with the neighbours again”. There’s a lot in that line. Isreal wanted peace, still wants it, but the Arab nations want it and its people destroyed. The current government is far from perfect, but that’s not what Golda is about, but there are similarities. Surprise attacks, misinformation, lies… and lost lives. It’s not a film on a war front, “I’m a politician not a solider”. It’s a film of decisions in beige rooms, with the sound of bullets and bombs outside. Live radio relaying the horrors. It’s chilling. For us and for her. Logistics, moral questions, survival. Eerily mirroring present day. You don’t need to know your history to… enjoy isn’t the right word, but get the most from Golda. Undeniably it helps though, if for nothing else, the little knowing jokes that get hidden in the dialogue. I know, jokes. Is that fitting? They’re mere breaths in an otherwise dense narrative and thus justified. If this were a WW2 film, we’d watch with detachment, we’d talk about the heroics, the glory of good people defeating evil. That’s not allowed with Israel though is it. You’re not allowed to do that. Praise is only for the British and the Americans. Sod that. This is a heroic film, about heroic people in every walk of Israeli life. It’s not an amazing film in itself, but it is an amazing historic story about an amazing country. Terrifying and heartbreaking as it is.



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