Simchas and Sorrows @ Bentonville Film Festival

Religion today is a tricky subject. Especially with its association with the Right and those who have fought to make abortion illegal in the United States. Combine that with poor treatment of women in general, anti-gay marriage, priests sexually assaulting young boys, Sharia law, terrorism, and Residential Schools/death and abuse of indigenous children and many wonder why religion is something that anyone turns to.

With all that baggage you can understand why younger generations are walking away from traditional religions. Not everyone though. Especially when it comes to making their parents happy. This is the case for Agnes (Genevieve Adams – Money Monster, Inside Llewyn Davis) and Levi (Thomas McDonell – from television’s The 100), a couple who are on the verge of getting married. Plus Agnes is pregnant.

The fact that she is pregnant means that Levi’s parents are even more invested in Agnes converting to Judaism. While the former Catholic school girl and present atheist is all for it in the beginning and even starts taking classes with Rabbi Cohen (Hari Nef – appeared in episodes of And Just Like That… and Transparent) when Levi begins to demand more and more of her it begins to make Agnes doubt their relationship.

A film like this one (obviously shot on a small budget) is going to be successful if it feels authentic. This one has that in spades. It always feels like you are watching a couple of your friends work through something. No unnecessary drama to be found here. Just young people dealing with all the questions that life throws at you.

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