When a man feels love for someone else, they’ll do foolish things to make that person happy. Although most of the time the guy ignores logic to avoid that person constantly whining about something. Such is the fate of Alain Gaash (Gerard Depardieu) when he gives into the desires of his wife (Fanny Ardant). Hello Goodbye is a French film that takes us to Israel in a comic search for marital happiness and identity.
Alain is a well-respected gynecologist in Paris. He takes his wife to a fellow doctor’s apartment for a sabbath dinner. Even though he’s Jewish, Alain is completely out of place since he can’t read Hebrew. An old lady gets him to admit he isn’t circumcised. He’s not that religious and most people don’t think he’s Jewish. His wife gets uncomfortable since she converted to marry him. She badgers him into taking their vacation in Israel. She falls in love with the land and people. During a visit to the desert, they hang out with Jesus and Moses. She can’t remain in Paris. He gets an informal offer to practice at a Tel Aviv hospital and a good deal on a seaside condo that’s under construction. The wife sees it as their opportunity to pack up their Paris condo and make a new life in the Promised Land. He reluctantly agrees on the deal.
When they return to Israel to become citizens, things don’t quite go as planned. The condo project is at a standstill with permits issues. The gig at the hospital wasn’t a real offer. The old gynecologist hasn’t quite left. Turns out that there’s way more gynecologists than necessary in the country. The only job he gets offered is car detailing at a posh resort. There’s a major incident in the shipping of all their possessions. Nothing is smooth about this transition. But Alain gamely struggles with his wife’s dream. She’s embracing her new religion thanks to a hunky young rabbi. She’s not so casual about her spiritual practices. She won’t have sex with her husband until he gets circumcised. How far will he go to ensure she’s happy? Will he get snipped to prove it?
This could have been a very bleak movie about middle aged couple on the move. But Gerard Depardieu plays it for frustration instead of rage. This doesn’t turn into a Falling Down situation as his life collapses in the Holy Land. He doesn’t throw his hulking body around. Instead we focus on his eyes as he seeks to make Fanny Ardant feel good. He’s in the middle of a squeeze play since he can’t tick off his wife and his religion by doing the wrong things. Yet at the same time, his hands were made for popping out babies and not vacuuming cars. The ending turns on the sweetness which is expected since it’s hard to believe that Israeli authorities would allow them to shoot at the airport for a “this place is insane” finale. Depardieu and Ardant make Hello Goodbye a pleasure trip no matter how their journey ends.
The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The image is good enough that you’ll be able to take in the sights of Israel. The audio is a French track in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0. The subtitles are in English. The sound levels are fine if you speak any of the various languages used by the actors.
Hello Goodbye Trailer (1:48) lays out the movie honestly.
Photo Gallery (1:09) is a montage of production pics.
Making Of (26:50) focuses on how Fanny Ardant really does live in Tel Aviv. She gives a tour of the country includinga visit to the Wailing Wall. There’s no talking with Gerard.
Hello Goodbye is a refreshing light comedy about relocating to the Promised Land. Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant bring a light touch to this French film that was mostly shot in Israel.
Liberation Entertainment presents Hello Goodbye. Directed by: Graham Guit. Starring: Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant. Written by: Michael Lellouche. Running time: 99 minutes. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: January 26. Available at Amazon.com.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.