by Adam Riske
I can say with almost absolute certainty that if it were not for Gabby’s recommendation, I would have never watched Yentl. I watch just about everything, but the hook of a 2+ hour Barbra Streisand movie about how much she loves studying the Torah just isn’t a movie I would gravitate towards. If I were a regular moviegoer when Yentl was released (in 1983, when I was one year old), that might be a different story. However, with the movie not being in the public eye anymore, there is little chance I would seek it out 31 years after its original release if not for Gabby.
I’m glad I did. Did I love Yentl? No, but I appreciated it. It’s extremely well-made. According to IMBD, Steven Spielberg called it “the best directorial debut since Citizen Kane.” The acting is top-notch, especially from Streisand, Mandy Patinkin and Amy Irving. The technical credits are exemplary, from the cinematography to the production design to the musical score. It reminded me of classic epics such as Gone with the Wind in sheer filmmaking. The songs were, well...beautifully sung? I didn’t love the songs, but that’s ok. Even more than movies, a person’s taste in music is completely subjective. I’m sure Gabby enjoys it and that makes me enjoy it...almost.
What struck me especially about Yentl is how much it hews closely to a Disney Princess musical. I don’t mean that as a slight. I enjoy those movies. Yentl is basically a Jewish Mulan with no fighting and more kvetching. I’m curious what strikes Gabby so much about it, and I’ll venture a few guesses: 1) She likes it because she likes it; 2) She’s a fan of Barbra Streisand and 3) The feminist point of view (women can and should do anything men can do – which I support) is empowering and speaks to her in some way. If any or all of these are true, I am happy that those are the reasons Yentl speaks to Gabby. Please leave a comment, Gabby. I’d love to hear why the movie resonates so strongly for you. I think I get it, but I want to make sure I don’t speak for you.
Did I have fun during Yentl? Kinda. It’s entertaining and I couldn’t help but think to myself, when one character asks what Hadass is like when she’s sleeping, that she dreams of Carrie White’s hand popping out of the grave. But that’s just me being an idiot. The ending is also satisfying, as Yentl goes off to pursue her dream Frodo-style and helps her friends Avigdor and Hadass in the process. I feel like this is the type of movie I’m supposed to hate but I don’t at all. You see, I’m going through my own struggle with Yentl, because I have to “cross-dress” to appear to be a guy who didn’t enjoy Yentl when actually that’s not me and I did enjoy Yentl. Boom! This movie’s got layers. After this movie and The Guilt Trip, I guess I’m cool with Barbra Streisand. Never thought I’d say that.
Labyrinth dance-magic-dance slumber party because of lack of the aforementioned schlong. Dicks can be a real problem sometimes.