Director: Michal Aviad | 93 minutes | drama | Actors: Liron Ben-Shlush, Menashe Noy, Oshri Cohen, Irit Sheleg, Dorit Lev-Ari, Gilles Ben-David, Corinne Hayat
“Working Woman” is about Israeli Orna (Liron Ben-Shlush), happily married to Ofer (Oshri Cohen) and the mother of three children. The job she’s just been offered, with a real estate agent, couldn’t have come at a better time. The family’s financial position is somewhat shaky, now that Ofer just opened a restaurant a few months ago and is still struggling with permits and gaining customers.
Although Orna has no experience in the real estate world, she quickly makes great strides up the career ladder. Her direct boss Benny (Menashe Noy) quickly becomes charmed by her good ideas and endless efforts. Unfortunately, that is not only in the professional field. After one of her first successes, Benny suddenly kisses her on the mouth. Shocked, Orna rejects him, Benny apologizes and the pair decide not to talk about it the next day. Orna hides the event from Ofer. Out of shame, perhaps, or because she knows what the consequences are if she does open her mouth.
Despite Benny’s apologies, the situation is slowly becoming increasingly untenable. As a viewer, you can feel that this is going to escalate. With every scene with Orna and Benny – at least twenty years older than Orna – you get a nasty feeling. Every action or comment on his part has a nasty aftertaste. You would like to shout to Orna to pack her things, but at the same time you understand why she stays.
What makes “Working Woman” so poignant is not only the impossible situation this woman finds herself in, but also the ease with which Benny gets away with it. And no matter how ideal Ofer as a husband appears, his reaction when events do come to light shows that women still have to deal with prejudices and misconceptions. Even Orna’s mother misunderstands her comment.
The acting is perfectly fine, especially Liron Ben-Shlushi impresses. With her subtle facial expressions she knows perfectly how to convey her discomfort to the viewer. On the other hand, Menashe Noy is also good: while his Benny will definitely give you the jitters, his charm is also evident. It makes sense that Orna also gets along well with him.
“Working Woman” is an important film about what may be a phenomenon that cannot be eradicated, despite the predictable course of this Israeli drama. Every viewer who recognizes himself in Benny and adjusts his (or her) actions accordingly for the better, is another.