New Apple+ Show Highlights Amazing Israeli Talent
How in the world can people who marry actors stand to see their husband or wife have sex scenes on screen with other beautiful people? How can they look in the mirror and not compare — and not be jealous?
Ayelet Zurer, one of Israel’s greatest actresses, who you may recognize from the first season of Shtisel or opposite Tom Hanks in Angels and Demons, is masterful as the star of Losing Alice, a new show on Apple+ TV that is a must-watch because it creeps into the parts of your brain that you are afraid to admit exist.
Zurer is Alice Ginor, a filmmaker who depicted a sex scene on screen, but as of late has been directing commercials and teaching. She is working on a new screenplay, but it’s not coming together.
Losing Alice writer and director Sigal Avin’s genius is shown in the second scene of the first episode, in a power reversal.
Alice meets Sophie Marciano (Lihi Kornowski) randomly on a train. At first, Sophie is a fan who seems like she might want to get a selfie with Alice. But soon, Alice feels like she has to explain herself. Sophie, who is a film student, tells Alice that she has written her first screenplay and that Alice’s husband David (Gal Toren) would be perfect for it.
Since he has abs of steel and is wanted by most women, Alice doesn’t take it seriously until she goes home and finds out that her husband is considering the role. Things get more complicated when Alice thinks she might want to direct the film. And when the actress auditioning for the role opposite David is flummoxed, questions abound about what is really going on.
Zurer is so great because the delivery of her dialogue is perfectly subtle, and her pauses show vulnerability. Toren has the needed bravado and machismo of a man who wants to be adored and may have to fight his animalistic desires. Kornowski is devilishly threatening while maintaining a natural look, as though things are supposed to turn out in a certain natural way. When her character asks Alice for something while she is in the bathroom, we believe it even if in real life we would never ask someone for such a thing.
Losing Alice is a suspenseful and sexy show that takes place in Israel without any talk of war. The real battle is who will have power, truth, and true satisfaction, as well as who can defeat the green-eyed monster of jealousy. The show also asks if it’s more important to have a good career or a good marriage, and how you know if you can trust someone. It also asks what a man or a woman will be willing to do when they see that things are slowly falling apart. Will we be okay with an average life, or will we sacrifice everything to pursue our dreams?
The other actors in the show are nothing to write home about, but it is no matter. Zurer, Toren, and Kornowski deftly create a triumvirate of heat to ensure the series is cooking with gas.
The first thing we see on screen is a quote that says “Art is a guarantee of sanity.” The saying by Louise Bourgeois may be true, but it can also be a guarantee of insanity.
Losing Alice airs on Fridays on Apple TV+. The first four episodes can currently be viewed.
Alan Zeitlin is a writer and educator based in New York.