Eight Gifts of Hanukkah

The Eye Doctor Who Could Not See

This is the plot where the secret admirer turns out to be the dark horse best friend. Yes, it is a cliché, but, for me, it usually works. And by and large, it works in this one. I liked the male lead very well. He was appealing in an average guy sort of way and conveyed his love and longing hidden behind jokey behavior towards the heroine very effectively. The female lead was OK despite her voice being very high and girlish. Also, she giggled an awful lot for the mature usually poised and serious person she played. She was definitely channeling Lacey Chabert or Jen Lilley or both. I got used to it eventually, though it was distracting at first.

Life long family friend and buddy, Daniel, who is working with Sara to renovate her office, tries to woo her by sending a thoughtful meaningful gift, on each of the 8 days of Hanukkah. It starts out being fun for all concerned, but as each day goes by and she still can’t figure out who her secret admirer is he starts to feel hurt and a little disrespected. She is being distracted by two new serious suitors. And they are both very nice and very eligible. Even her ex who dumped her starts to make some moves. He is a weasel. When Daniel’s best friend, amusingly played by Doron Bell, asks him why he just doesn’t tell her, he says, “Now it’s becoming a test. I want her to figure out it’s me.” As they spend more time together (he teaches her to dance, for example) Inbar Lavi, as the beautiful but blind as a bat optometrist (Eye See You-not.) Sara, does a good job of showing the increasing attraction she has started to feel for her friend and being confused by it. He knows she is starting to feel something, but wants her to figure it out on her own. It’s a romantic dance and is very engaging. After nearing the last days of his courtship of gifts, which honestly only he could be the giver of, he overhears her speculating on the most unlikely possibilities and doesn’t even consider it might be him. He is fed up. She finally figures things out, but he has lost patience. Is it too late?

This has some corny lines and situations including an awkward Forrest Gump imitation, but I really liked it. Some of the efforts to infuse the story with Jewish culture and references seem a little forced, but who am I to judge? The ending, and the 8th gift was sweet and perfect.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

December 6, 2021

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