Set in and around the Hasidic community of Montreal, Quebec, Felix and Meira is about a young Hasidic mother (Hadas Yaron) who feels squashed by her religious community and her marriage to a controlling, devout man (Luzer Twersky). She’s so trapped, in fact, that she gets reamed when he catches her playing a favorite album of ‘60s soul music. And when she dares admit to other Hasidic women that she doesn’t want any more children, she gets a shocked response: “But it’s our duty!” Something’s gotta give.
At a diner, Meira meets the wayward, devil-may-care Felix (Martin Dubreuil) who has just lost his elderly father and who can barely be bothered to claim his inheritance or even to accept his rich sister’s offer of serious money if he’ll only come up with some sort of goal or life plan. Meira discourages his interest in her but he slowly wears down her resistance and they begin a tentative cross-cultural romance that takes surprisingly subtle and affecting turns. No one is an easy villain here and the strong performances are well attuned to all sides of a painful emotional triangle. Directed by Maxime Giroux from a screenplay he wrote with Alexandre Laferriere, Felix and Meira makes fascinating observations on forbidden love and as well as on the Hasidic community. Although its pace is sometimes pokey, it’s a movie offering nice rewards to the patient. ***