“What happens when idealism becomes power?” asks Golda Meir (Valerie Harper) toward the end of “Golda’s Balcony,” a one-woman tour of the life and conscience of Israel’s fourth prime minister. That question is the driving force of Jeremy Kagan’s inert yet strangely compelling film (adapted by William Gibson from his Broadway play), whose overall rueful tone is explained by the answer: “It kills.”
Buried beneath ridged greasepaint and a wig the color and texture of steel wool, Ms. Harper leads us through the tumultuous life of this Ukraine-born, Wisconsin-raised woman who was determined to be more than a “parlor Zionist.” While archival film and original artwork alternate on a green screen behind her, the actress performs multiple roles — including those of Henry A. Kissinger and Meir’s husband, Morris Meyerson — always returning to that of an old woman facing death with a heavy heart and an unquiet mind.
Much of that heaviness is located in Meir’s troubled recollections of the 1973 Middle East war and (the film claims) her decision to use nuclear weapons if necessary. Yet “Golda’s Balcony” also allows its star to exercise her considerable comic talent, particularly in its wry reflections on the prime minister’s doomed marriage and her wicked interest in the love life of her defense minister, Moshe Dayan.
“I always wondered, did he take the eye patch off?” she muses. She’s not the only one.
I think they missed out her part as "mattress of the Emek" or at least her manipulaitve use of her record player.
Actually, I think the film should be referred to as "The Fall Off Golda's Balcony".