Off White Lies

Though set during the Second Lebanon War of 2006, this coming-of-age story evokes the offbeat charms of Juno and Sixteen Candles. The first feature film from Israeli director Maya Kenig, the movie tells the story of Libby, a shy, intelligent 13-year-old who has spent the bulk of her childhood in California, only to be sent by her mother to live with her estranged father in Israel. It doesn’t take long for the serious-minded Libby to discover her father is a well-intentioned sham, a pie-in-the-sky inventor of non-working objects, too poor to afford his own apartment or car. When war breaks out, to find shelter he suggests they pose as refugees. The scheme works at first; they are taken in by a Jerusalem family—and discover a shared talent for telling “off-white lies.” But as their hoax falls apart, they learn they’re not the only ones with something to hide. Kenig manages to find humor in some impressively awkward situations; with her laconic storytelling, she allows her gifted actors to build an endearing and believable bond.
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