Torn Apart (1990)

Movie Info

Movie Info

Jack Fisher
Run Time
1 hour and 36 minutes
Not Rated

VP Content Ratings

Sex & Nudity
Star Rating
★★★★4 out of 5

Relevant Quotes

The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

Isaiah 11:7
“Shall I inform you of something that holds a higher status than fasting, praying, and giving charity? Making peace between people, for verily sowing dissension between people is indeed calamitous.”

From the Quran (Kenzul Ummal)
For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us…

Ephesians 2:14
Laila & Ben, star-crossed lovers in a land of hatred. (c) Castle Hill Productions

This film set amidst the Arab-Jewish conflict in the 70 is filtered through the story of Romeo and Juliet. Although not as detailed in regard to the causes of the over 70-year-old conflict between Jews and Palestinians, it still in several places will help viewers understand the harsh feelings that Jews and Palestinians harbor against each other. The film is directed by Jack Fisher and writer Marc Kristal, who adapted Chayym Zeldis’ novel A Forbidden Love.

In 1961 a young boy named Ben becomes interested in the Arab neighbors who move in next door, especially the daughter who is his same age, Laila. The two play together and romp through the fields and hills of their region. Then the Six-Day erupts, which prompts Ben’s father to take his son, but leave his daughter, to New York. Twelve years later Ben (Adrian Pasdar) returns to join the Israeli Defense Forces. His sister now lives on a kibbutz.

His unit is assigned to the occupied territories where he comes across Laila (Cecilia Peck) again. She is now a teacher at an Arab school. Their reunion and resulting relationship is filled with landmines, but their childhood friendship soon blossoms into love. Each assignation is filled with tension and danger. Even had either family consented to their relationship, their love could not last on such rocky ground—plenty of those rocks are being hurled at the Israeli soldiers, with the latter often firing back with real bullets.

In the family sequences we hear both sides of the “dividing wall of hostility” that continues to beset the two peoples. As the 60s Protest Song puts it in the repeated refrain, “When will they ever learn, When will they ever learn?” Both sides espouse a faith that promotes peace—see the quotes above, the first from Ben’s Bible, and the second from Lila’s Quran.

You can watch the film free by clicking onto Torn Apart – Complete Movie (

 This review isin the May issue of VP along with a set of questions for reflection and/or discussion. If you have found reviews on this site helpful, please consider purchasing a subscription or individual issue in The Store.

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