It’s truly hard to understand the position working women are put in by aggressive male bosses – unless you’ve been in that position. But in “Working Woman,” actress Liron Ben-Shlush does a superb job of portraying the stresses and challenges of learning and mastering a new profession, while fending off a totally out-of-line boss. We also see the main character, Orna, as a loving mother and wife, and the struggle of juggling all three.
In this realistic portrayal of sexual harassment in the workplace, we learn that the #MeToo experience is just as troublesome in Israel as in America. In fact, perhaps more so, considering the machoism of the Israeli society. It’s just a throwaway line at the beginning of the movie, but we learn that Orna’s boss, Benny (Menashe Noy), was her commander when she served in the Israel Defense Forces. This is probably not coincidental.
Director and co-writer Michal Aviad powerfully relates the conundrum of women who are faced with unwanted sexual advances by a man who has the power over their family’s much-needed income.
What choices do the women have? Ignore the advances and believe the boss’s promises of never again, while focusing all energy on the job itself? Or quit?
At times, some women might find this film very difficult to watch. It’s so very realistic, including the character’s tendency to blame herself. But fortunately, Aviad concludes the story in a very surprising, yet satisfying way.
Israeli filmmakers, in general, seem to have perfected the storytelling of real life. But with “Working Woman,” Aviad has hit the jackpot.
Jan Jaben-Eilon is a long-time journalist who has dual citizenship in the United States and Israel.