This slice-of-an-era film about Golda Mier features a masterful performance by lead Helen Mirren but ultimately lacks scope. It is a good movie. Is it an excellent, awards-worthy movie? It is not precisely that. I could see some future love for Mirren’s acting come awards season, but the film needs to catch up in most other categories.
The film focuses on the latter years of Golda Mier’s run as prime minister of Israel, particularly during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 between Israel and a coalition of Arab states (Egypt and Syria). While dealing with this unexpected attack by the Arab states, Golda Mier must also deal with her failing health resulting from her battle with lymphoma. Mier musters every bit of strength, courage, and determination to protect her nation despite the challenges she faced as a woman during this era.
Written by Nicholas Martin and directed by Guy Nattiv, Golda does a great job selling Golda Mier’s leadership skills and tenacity that made her a solid leader. Where the movie falters is the filmmaker’s inability to give the film enough dimension beyond that of Golda Mier’s challenges. The movie often gets too caught up in the political procedurals. It would have benefited from more of a backstory and the events and character development that brought Golda to this crucial career moment. Though the movie touches upon this very lightly, there is way too much attention paid to the here, now, and everything that occurred during the war.
On the other hand, I enjoy and appreciate that the audience gets a visual and surreal representation of the psychological struggle Mier endures during the biggest challenge of her career and life. And it is in these scenes that Mirren shines the brightest. The actor brings a genuine human quality to her vulnerabilities in her performance. If there is a big reason to see this movie, it is because of Helen Mirren’s acting. I know that Helen Mirren is not a Jewish actor, and I did question her casting initially, but after seeing her performance, I thought she was the right choice. The makeup department also deserves high praise for making Mirren look like her character.
As I screened this movie at home and felt that it was a pleasing presentation that way, I could not exactly go to bat for seeing this movie in the theater. Nothing about the film begs to be seen on the big screen. Golda is a suitable movie that can be enjoyed in the comfort of one’s home.