Tuesday, July 3, 2012
For the Love of Yentl
I love Yentl and I always will. It's not just the movie, which I think is perhaps Barbra's greatest feat of all time, it's the woman she presented in the film. Make no mistake, friends, Barbra's Yentl was not Isaac Singer's girl. She was Barbra's interpretation of the bare-bones he wrote of in his short story. Thanks to Barbra, Yentl became a woman with a soul, not a girl with an angry streak. If you think I'm wrong, go back and read Singer's story and you'll find yourself turned off by Yentl's attitude. It took Barbra's vision to not just humanize Yentl, but to give her dimension and direction. Singer couldn't see past Yentl's desire to study the Talmud, making her in many ways a one-note character. Barbra chose to age her -- she's 28 in the film and already deemed a spinster -- and wanting more than just books. "Where Is It Written," the opening song by Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman, encapsulates perfectly that Yentl seeks more from life. She wants those "every sweet imagined possibility," and because she does, Yentl becomes a character that we can relate to and love. Just like Fanny sings of her desires in "I'm the Greatest Star," this is Yentl's declaration. It's a powerful number, beautifully filmed and Barbra's performance is peerless. I dare you to watch this and not want to watch the enitre film tonight!