From child prodigy to Star Wars to the Oscars, Natalie Portman’s career has taken a lot of turns. Adding writing and directing roles to her resume isn’t really surprising at this point, but what may catch people off guard is the feature project she picked to debut these new endeavors.

A Tale of Love and Darkness is based on the autobiography of the same name by Israeli author Amos Oz, covering the period of his childhood when the British Mandate for Palestine ended and the State of Israel began. A turbulent time, to be sure, and Oz’s novel about the period, his burgeoning love of storytelling, and memories of his mother have caught on around the globe, with the book being translated into 28 different languages.

However, Portman chose to keep the film in the book’s original Hebrew, all but guaranteeing a restricted audience for the project she has worked years to develop. In fact, she originally wanted an Israeli actress to play the mother, but this apparently took the film too far away from commercial viability, so the Israeli-born Portman took over the role herself.


These choices and the tepid reviews out of the Cannes Film Festival have left it struggling to find distribution, but it’s the kind of project that I wish we got more of. It’s refreshing to see an actress step into the writing and directing arena with such firm and unorthodox decisions, and I hope Portman continues to helm more projects like it.

A Tale of Love and Darkness is directed by Natalie Portman and stars Portman, Amir Tessler, and Gilad Kahana.  It will be released in the U.S. on August 19th, 2016. For international release dates, click here.

Do you think Portman should continue to make films that are outside of the mainstream? Let us know in the comments!

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