Written by Rula Jebreal and based on her novel, Miral
tells the true story of Hind Husseini, and specifically her efforts to set up an orphanage back in the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. At least that’s where the film starts. Husseini set up the Dar Al-Tifel Institute, and that’s where young Miral finds herself in 1978. The film also then moves to 1988, where she’s teaching at a refugee camp, and facing a tough dilemma of her own.
If you’ve not guessed already, Miral is a challenging, compelling film, one that treads carefully in telling a significant and important story. Director Julian Schnabel isn’t always utterly confident in how he chooses to tell it, but the strength of the material itself means that the end result is still very strong.
Schnabel does, on the whole, a very good job here, after all. Although he owes a debt to the terrific Freida Pinto, best known to date for Slumdog Millionaire. Her performance is compelling, and helps drive the film forward.
Miral is far from perfect, and inevitably it’s not going to be to everyone’s taste. But it’s a well-made take on a story that deserves to be more widely known. It’s a movie worth seeking out. --Jon Foster