The movie Tahara, directed by Olivia Peace, is a big undertaking. Within its extremely brief running time, it attempts to cover the topics of sexuality, friendship, and mortality. Working from a Jess Zeidman-original story, Peace digs headfirst into these thorny issues and creates a film that offers no simple solutions but is all the more intriguing for it. There will inevitably be comparisons to the similarly themed shiva Baby, but Tahara manages to be extremely different. Tahara is a compelling coming-of-age story that is supported by its distinctive visual aesthetic and well-suited characters, despite some sections that could feel trivial.

Best friends Carrie (Madeleine Grey DeFreece) and Hannah (Rachel Sennott) find themselves attending both her burial and a "teen talk-back" at their neighbourhood synagogue after a classmate passes away. Hannah is more concerned with catching Tristan (Daniel Taveras), her longtime obsession, than with helping the various kids handle their ostensible pain. In a startling act of ignorance, Hannah asks Carrie to kiss her so she can judge her abilities. Hannah views it as a fleeting moment, while Carrie sees it as the catalyst for a shocking disclosure that colours the remainder of the painfully awkward talk-back.

Tahara is entirely set in a synagogue, which ordinarily runs the risk of feeling overly plodding. Peace, however, combats this early on by utilising original visual gimmicks. Peace uses inventive techniques to effectively convey the thoughts and feelings of the girls, such as using animation and enlarging the boxy aspect ratio during Carrie's moments of self-discovery. Tahara's Carrie receives more introspective treatment than either of its two main characters, which may frustrate viewers who want to know more about Hannah. It makes fitting that Carrie's trip would take centre stage above everyone others given that she is the de facto protagonist in this story.

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