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Storyline (warning: spoilers)
Working Woman tells a story that is timely yet timeless. Like countless before her, a woman finds her career caught in the vices of her boss’s desires because she needs to provide for her family. Even as she tries to reassert control in the office, she feels powerless at home, unable to talk about it with her husband, blaming herself for the situation and wrecking her body and mind over what happens. It is a story we’ve likely heard of or seen before, yet under Michal Aviad’s sympathetic lens, it’s one that stands out with a sense of urgency.
Orna (Liron Ben Shlush) is a busy mother of three returning to the Israeli workforce to help out her husband as he gets his restaurant off-the-ground. By chance, Orna lands a job with her old military captain, Benny (Menashe Noy), and she joins him in the real estate business. She advances quickly as a sales agent with her excellent negotiation skills, and despite some trouble at home, her future looks bright until her boss takes a liking to her beyond their professional relationship. He has the power to derail her career and destabilize her family.
It’s difficult to judge what any of us would do in that situation until it happens, but the movie doesn’t judge Orna for her actions. For some audience members, she will have done all the right evasive manoeuvres we’ve been taught to politely turn down aggressive men, and yet she is still punished. Others will think she didn’t do enough to stop him. The debate around sexual harassment is one many are having around the world, far beyond hashtags and press releases.
Working Woman is a part of that global and cultural conversation, yet it never loses that personal focus of one woman’s experience.