“Everyone has a path that leads them to wherever they need to go. All you can know is if you were brave or scared in your life.”
Dreams and regrets are at the heart of Is That You?, an Israeli film set in the U.S. After losing his job as a projectionist in Israel, Ronnie (Alon Aboutboul) comes to the U.S. to try to find Rachel, his girlfriend from forty years ago. Her birthday is near, and when they were young they had promised that no matter what, for her sixtieth birthday, they would be together. But he really has no idea where she is. Putting a few clues together, he sets off in a rental car to find her. When the car breaks down he meets Myla (Naruna Kaplan de Macedo) a young filmmaker making The Road Not Taken, a documentary about people’s regrets in life. She wants to interview Ronnie and hearing his story offers to go with him on the journey.
Ronnie and Myla are very much a yin-yang couple: old/young, male/female, cynical/dreamer. When Ronnie learns of her dreams of being a documentarian, he points out that you can’t really make a living doing that. Myla says she believes dreams should shape our realities, not the other way around. Yet their differences make them a perfect couple for their travel and the search for fulfillment of dreams.
Along the road, they meet a wide range of people whom Myla films as they talk about their biggest regret. The film-within-a-film provides a chance to reflect on the connection between dreams and regrets. Some of those documentary interviews are serious, some frivolous, but they set the stage for Ronnie’s seeking to undo the big regret in his life, and for Myla to face the real reason behind her film about regrets. Perhaps one of the gifts this film has to offer is that as we watch we may wonder what we would say if Myla were to ask us about our biggest regret.
In the end we know that life is filled with dreams and regrets. Ronnie has lived with his regret for decades and now seeks to see if his dream can be restored. Myla wants to push her dream so she won’t have regrets (yet she fears that regret has already become a heavy weight in her life). Each of the thousands of roads and paths we journey along in life will carry the possibility of regret. Perhaps the way to finding happiness is never giving way to regret—just as Ronnie never gives up on the possibility that his regret may be overcome.
Photos courtesy of Hey Jude Productions