Helen Mirren’s dour Golda a lesson from history

I lost count of how many cigarettes Helen Mirren lit up during Golda.

The British actress plays the part of former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir as she leads her country through the Yom Kippur war in October 1973.

Meir seems to reach for a cigarette and lighter at any opportunity.

Even when she is on a hospital bed about to receive radiation treatment for lymphoma, a cancer of the blood, which she fought for the last 12 years of her life, she is puffing away.

The movie mostly follows the timeline of the war, when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on the Yom Kippur religious holiday.

There is some warning the attack will take place but the Israelis hold off preempting the attack so as not to be the aggressor.

It is interesting to note that by the time of the Yom Kippur war Israel had defended its existence and defeated its Arab neighbours on four other occasions.

This movie gives historical context for the reason why the region is troubled today.

In some ways the movie has a documentary feel to it and real life footage adds authenticity to the atmosphere of the movie.

It is a very dour portrayal of Meir but I guess it was a bleak time for her.

I thought Mirren was very convincing in the role.

The makeup department have done a very good job to create a believable outward appearance for Mirren.

A highlight of the movie was the interaction between her and American secretary of state Henry Kissinger (Liev Schreiber).

The movie finishes with a haunting rendition of Leonard Cohen’s song Who by Fire which is based on a prayer often said at Yom Kippur.

I liked this movie.

It gave me insight into a historical figure I can remember seeing on the news as a child.

It has increased my admiration for a woman who made her mark on world history.