“Losing Alice” follows 48-year-old Alice Ginor (Ayelet Zurer), a once-promising director whose seminal film “Three-Quarter Moon” was provocative, sexually charged, and singular. But that was years ago. Alice now is a mother of three daughters who every so often does commercial work; Alice’s look when one of her daughters recognizes a yogurt ad she directed is a grimace of professional frustration. While she mostly stays at home, bumping heads against her always-guilt-tripping mother-in-law Tami (Chelli Goldenberg), her actor husband David (Gal Toren) travels around on the world working on various films. Both of them have slid into the kind of mid-career mainstream that is creatively unrewarding: They’re doing jobs that pay for their very large house and the cost of raising their three kids rather than for artistic fulfillment, and the strain on their marriage is beginning to show.
An opportunity for something different appears after a chance encounter on a train, when Alice is recognized by a fan, 24-year-old Sophie (Lihi Kornowski), who is endlessly praising of “Three-Quarter Moon.” Alice keeps trying to end the conversation, but Sophie is passionate, exuberant, and tenacious, and she won’t stop talking. How much of “Three-Quarter Moon” was made up, Sophie wonders, and how much of it was real? “Everything begins with a kernel of truth” is the explanation given, and Sophie seems to begrudgingly accept it. And then Sophie reveals a surprising admission of her own: She’s written a script, she’s sent it to David, and he’s agreed to star in her movie. He said the script “blew his mind”—didn’t he tell Alice?
That meeting between Sophie and Alice sparks a relationship between the pair that will sprawl outward and affect nearly every facet of their lives: personally, professionally, romantically. Between Alice and David, whose already tenuous marriage is tested even more when the attractive Sophie starts appearing unexpectedly at their house and when Alice considers directing the film, which David had pinpointed as his own comeback. Why won’t Alice let him have this? Between Alice and Tami, who is convinced that Alice’s increasing interest in returning to movie directing will have a negative impact on her grandchildren; she would prefer Alice and David break up altogether. Between Alice and Sophie, as Alice becomes obsessed with the very question Sophie had asked her on the train: How much of Sophie’s film “Room 209” is pulled from real life? Sophie has a decades-older boyfriend, just like the script’s protagonist, Eleanor. Sophie’s Instagram showed that she had a best friend who mysteriously stopped appearing in posts, just like Eleanor’s split from her closest confidante in “Room 209.” There’s a lot of sexualization and taboo-breaking in “Room 209,” just like the buttons Sophie likes to push. Showing up to meet David braless. Slathering Alice’s daughter with makeup, cutting her bangs, and making her into a miniature Sophie lookalike—all without asking. Flirting with Sophie’s neighbor Tamir (Yossi Marshek), who previously had looked at Alice with the same playful longing that he now aims at Sophie. Is Sophie trying to copy Alice’s life? Take over her life? “Room 209” ends in bloodshed, with its myriad characters saddled with the effects of their own debased decisions. Is art imitating life here, or vice versa?
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS GREAT SOURCE