Courtesy of Sundance Institute
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: So, a depressed cantor and his childhood music teacher walk into a bar…
In director Nathan Silver’s Sundance Film Festival comedy Between the Temples, Jason Schwartzman plays another one of his lovable weirdos—this time, a cantor who’s lost his voice to grief after the untimely passing of his exceedingly talented, very hot novelist wife. Ben Gottlieb is a man warped by mourning—the kind of guy who will walk into his neighborhood bar, order too many Mississippi mudslides, and then pick a fight with the guy who’s been making fun of him all night only to earn himself a black eye. And yes, before you ask, he has moved back in with his mothers (played with impeccable busybody energy by Caroline Aaron and Dolly De Leon).
Ben’s sadness might be formidable, but it’s no match for Carol Kane’s Carla—a gregarious Aquarius who picks Ben up off the floor, dusts off his yarmulke, and dabs his face with ice before driving him home. Although she doesn’t recognize him at first, they eventually figure out that she was once his music teacher. Beyond this shared history, the two come to realize they’ve actually got a lot in common. Carla is also grieving her late partner, and like Ben, this loss has sent her down a somewhat unusual path: She’s decided that she wants to have a bat mitzvah at the age of 70. This story apparently comes from personal inspiration, as Silver’s mother also took adult bat mitzvah classes.