Felix and Meira, the surprise winner for Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, shows an outstanding hand at observation and subtlety as director/co-writer Maxime Giroux presents an understated Orthodox Jewish love triangle that is both respectful and touching. While Giroux presents Shulem's own devotion to ritual and faith as fulfilling for him, the film frames the gendered roles and divisions of orthodoxy that lead to Meira's despair. Felix and Meira smartly allows Meira to remain devoted to her faith—notice how she respects the mezuzah in her home (and in the homes of others) both before and after her relationship with Felix begins. The romance between Meira and Felix itself feels defined and respectful of religion, as it remains perfectly chaste, even if only onscreen, for Giroux never lets Meira’s distance from her husband and reluctant attraction to Felix amount to a transgression. She’s unfaithful, yes, especially in the eyes of Shulem and their peers, but lust is not the aim of her infidelity: love, connection, and, above all, life are what Meira seeks.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of ★★★★★)
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