Scott Marks 3:30 p.m., Dec. 24
For better and for worse, this Israeli depiction of the struggle between a Jewish father and his son — both Talmudic scholars, though of decidedly different temperaments — feels like a well-crafted short story. For better: the elegance of plot, the plumbing of character, the reams of intelligent dialogue. For worse: the stasis of old men sitting and talking, the occasional claustrophobia of interiority, and the maybe questionable use of symbolism. Lior Ashkenazi is splendid as the frustrated, celebrated son — his face holds up to the lengthy close-ups. 2012.