[This review contains spoilers]
Barbra Streisand is the first woman to direct, produce, write and star in a major studio film, this one, to be more precise. That makes her a unique and notable person, it’s unfortunate I can’t extend that same praise to this film.
Yentl, for lack of a better word, is boring. It’s one of the most dull films with cross-dressing as a main theme I’ve seen. Blackadder did the almost exact same concept but was far more funny and interesting. Hell, I even find Stanley Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s version to be more entertaining.
Then again, this is supposed to be a serious film, but even then there are still better examples. The Rose of Versailles being an obvious one, and Victor/Victoria even more so.
This film has a love triangle aspect to it that feels underdeveloped. A man loves a girl, a girl loves a girl pretending to be a man, and the woman pretending, she loves the first guy. The romance adds padding, and meanders too much.
The things that I enjoyed most about the film are few and far in between. I loved Yentl’s thirst for knowledge, and that she was breaking the norms of her time. That she feels trapped in traditions holding her back. That was interesting, that had conflict.
Hell, even her father dying had an impact, and the song just before it was good.
It just sucks that the other songs, again, feel like their just drawing the film out.
The Jewish debate about religion was interesting, and I think it’s a good introduction to a different mode of thinking. Though to be honest, I don’t know how accurate this films depiction was.
Would I recommend this film? If you’re a Barbra Streisand fan, you’ve probably already seen it and love it. Is it for anyone else? Probably not, unless you just really want to an okay cross-dressing film.