45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
a harrowing tale of a clash of cultures,
This review is from: Not Without My Daughter [DVD] (DVD)
Based on Betty Mahmoody's account of her 18 months in Iran, this is a gripping, emotional roller coaster of a film that kept me riveted to the screen for all of its 115 minutes.
Though fearful, Betty agreed to go for a two-week visit to Iran with her husband Moody and daughter Mahtob, only to find at the end of the two weeks that her husband was fired from his job in the US, and he has no intention of leaving Iran. Moody's family are primitive village people, very extreme in their views, and Moody, at first to "save face, and then perhaps degenerating into the man he was before being "Americanized", inceasingly controls Betty with force and humiliation, all within the Ayatollah Khomeni's insane and rigorous Islamic state of 1984.
Her struggle to get out of Iran with her daughter is what this film is about (it would have been easy to leave alone), and there are many brave Iranians who risk their lives to help her. The claim that this film is racist is irrational, doesn't take these heroic people into consideration, and is an example of the narrow-minded intolerance shown in this film, a mindset that led to 9/11.
Though made in 1990, this is a very timely film to watch, and relates to the problem of abuse in every culture. I don't understand why it has slipped under the radar screen and is not more widely known. The acting is excellent by the entire cast, and the direction by Brian Gilbert is tight and feels like a top-notch thriller at times, with Jerry Goldsmith's terrific score and Peter Hannan's wonderful cinematography, shot on location in Israel, which is fantastic in the last portion of the film.
Sally Field and Alfred Molina give the performance of their lives, in what is much more than a "woman's film"; this is a film about humanity and extraordinary courage, and should have a much wider audience than it has had.