Review of A House in Jerusalem

Director: Muayad Alaya | Script: Muayad Alayan and Rami Musa Alayan | Cast: Miley Locke (Rebecca), Sheherazade Makhoul Farrell (Rasha), Johnny Harris (Michael), ea | Time to play: 103 minutes | Year: 2023

Brit Rebecca is just ten years old and already weighed down by severe trauma that she wouldn’t wish on any child. A year ago, she was in a car with her mother when she crashed. Rebecca survived the accident, but her mother died. The girl moves with her father to an old house in Jerusalem. Will she finally make it to the duel?

With his third feature film with the unmistakable title A house in Jerusalem Palestinian filmmaker Muayad Alayan delivers his third feature film. In the script that Alayan wrote with her brother, there is little room for communication between Rebecca and her father, Michael. He still hasn’t come to terms with the death of his wife. No matter how many times he tells her daughter that he loves her, there is an unbridgeable distance between them.

In a new environment with a foreign language, Rebecca seems difficult to adjust to after her father inherited the old house and decorated it to his liking. After the girl finds a doll in the well on the house grounds one afternoon, she begins to see ghosts. That sounds less scary than it is. Slowly, Rebecca comes into contact with the ghost girl, Rasha’s age companion, who along with her family had to face the horrors of the Jewish-Palestinian war in 1948.

A house in Jerusalem is an introverted drama, despite the many wooden dialogues between the two child actors that indicate interaction. Like a true detective, Rebecca decides to investigate the past of her new girlfriend. Passers-by can’t see the Palestinian girl, so it’s natural to see Rasha as a means for Rebecca to deal with the tragic death of her mother. The Palestinian girl herself also misses her family, but she says that she should stay at home in case her father and mother return.

Rebecca’s search continues to change what should be the core of this teen drama. Diverts attention from the grieving process that should be central. Even if it’s just human nature to want to find an explanation in Rebecca’s observations. More powerful is the fact that despite their different backgrounds, the girls have a lot in common. Whether grief and mourning stem from an accident or the horrors of war, they have similar processing mechanisms.

The Alayan brothers have failed to write a balanced script. They shoot various side roads, in which the adults are often absent. If they play any role, it is mainly to set limits or point out impossibilities. In the middle, you are in awe of the Israeli regime and its spying on Rebecca’s behavior on the Internet. As soon as she starts digging in various Palestinian communities, the police are at the door to insist that this is not the intention.

But even more so, adults pierce the balloons of hope and childish naivety. A house in Jerusalem, which was shown earlier this year during the Rotterdam International Film Festival, is a creative attempt to portray a child’s pain. Unfortunately, the execution and accents leave a lot to be desired.

Varsha Rai

Hi, Varsha here. I am a very passionate writer with a knack for the art of words and I hope to share my stories and information in a way that is meaningful and inspiring. At, I write mostly on latest and upcoming movies, movie reviews and everything related to movies. Catch up with me on - [email protected]
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