Written, directed, produced and starred by Barbra Streisand, Yentl is an 80s jewel we need to appreciate a little more this year. Opposite Mandy Patinkin, Streisand is the title character, a woman in 1904 Poland raised by a single father in a small town in the days before women were allowed to learn scripture. As is repeated throughout the film, “A woman who learns Talmud is a Devil.”
When Yentl’s father passes early in the film, she disguises herself as a man and goes into a larger city to study Judaism.
It’s very Mulan.
There, she meets Avigdor (Patinkin) and becomes his study and debate partner.
Things become expectedly hectic with Avigdor developing romantic feelings for Anshel (Yentl in disguise) that he keeps to himself (for obvious reasons) while still being madly in love with his fiancee, Hadass, played by Amy Irving.
I won’t spoil the ending for you but it’s here, it’s queer, it’s an unapologetically Jewish feminist masterpiece of musical theater, filmed on-location in Czechoslovakia and if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s time.