“Time to Say Goodbye” is a coming-of-age farce about a love-struck 12-year-old German Jewish boy caught in the middle of a conflict between his mild-mannered, increasingly observant father and his estranged, tantalizing fiction-writer mother.
Appropriately setting the tone, the action opens with the shenanigans of Simon and his two instigating best-friend sidekicks. Events quickly turn on the arrival of the traditional community’s new female rabbi, with whom Simon quickly, and his father apparently subsequently, becomes enamored.
After deducing that “we are in love with the same woman,” Simon embarks on a well-considered if not ill-advised campaign, declaring to his father: “Love isn’t fair.”
The ensuing action will at times make you laugh, at times make you cringe, and at times make you cross your legs. In the end Simon decides to give it all in ways you can only imagine.
Maximilian Ehrenreich as young Simon steals the show with an utterly believable performance. Transitioning from cute and naive to willful and determined, Ehrenreich as Simon does a convincing job of showing that love at any age can cloud your vision and impair your judgment.
The audience is granted another reward as Simon reaches his bar mitzvah celebration with a newfound appreciation and level of maturity commensurate with the occasion.
Although director Viviane Andereggen flirts with the line between humorous and distasteful, sometimes crossing over to gratuitous and even unnecessary, “Time to Say Goodbye” emerges as a clever, entertaining and lighthearted ride that is worth taking.
(At press time, tickets were available for Atlanta Jewish Film Festival screenings Jan. 29 at Merchants Walk, Jan. 31 at SCADshow and Feb. 5 at Atlantic Station.)