Longing: A Canadian-Israeli Coproduction

Savi Gabizon’s Longing is a remake of his Israeli movie of the same title. A Canada-Israel co-production filmed in the province of Ontario and starring the veteran Hollywood actor Richard Gere, it opens in theaters on June 7.

Now in his mid-70s, Gere plays Daniel, a wealthy businessman who reconnects with his former girlfriend, Rachel (Suzanne Clément), only to learn that she gave birth to their child nearly 20 years ago. Rachel, now remarried, withheld this information from Daniel because he did not want children.

Savi Gabizon

But now that he has learned he is a father, Daniel, an extremely busy industrialist, decides to find out as much as he can about his late son Allen, who was recently killed in a car accident.

As he goes about this task, he meets a variety of people, including one of Allen’s friends, his girlfriend and his high school teacher. They enrich his life in this placid but impassioned film.

Gere turns in a rock solid performance as a man driven by a mission. In one of his first meetings, Daniel encounters a young man who informs him that he and Allen were involved in drugs. Daniel is disappointed by the disclosure, but perks up when the high school principal tells him that Allen was a “charming” and “quiet” person.

That’s only half of the story. As the principal relates, Allen (Tomaso Saneli) got into trouble at school and was expelled, leading him down a rabbit hole into the drug business.

Daniel meets Lillian (Jessica Clement), Allen’s 16-year-old girlfriend, and she fills in important gaps about him, the love of her life. After his expulsion, Allen lived in her parents’ home, he learns. Lillian divulges yet more information. She is pregnant with his child. And Allen loved his teacher, Alice (Diane Kruger), whom Daniel arranges to meet.

Diane Kruger and Richard Gere

Although she admits that Allen fell in love with her, Alice claims she did not reciprocate his passion. In a dream sequence, Daniel talks to Allen and imagines a scene of sexual ecstasy involving Alice.

As his investigation takes him further afield, Daniel discovers that Allen was a pianist and a talented writer. He also finds out that Allen’s obsession with Alice prompted her to file a police complaint against him.

Visiting the cemetery where Allen is buried, Daniel falls into a conversation with a man who is tending to his late daughter Elizabeth’s gravestone. He learns she was an attractive and intelligent young woman who fell into a permanent depression that caused her to commit suicide.

Richard Gere plays a businessman whose life is upended by a discovery

Assuming that Allen may have clicked with Elizabeth as a kindred soul, Daniel devises a most unusual scheme to honor them in their afterlives.

As these events unfold, Daniel tries to persuade Lillian to keep her unborn baby. He and Rachel desperately want to be grandparents, but Lillian and her parents are skeptical.

It would be inaccurate to describe Longing as a riveting film, but it is engaging thanks, in part, to a credible cast and the steady hand of an able director.