Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
Way too stereotypical
on 20 January 2012
I didn't like this film that much. Despite good naturalistic performances from professional and amateur actors, the film amassed a collection of stereotypical characters, and built on an extremely explicit script which explained away via boilerplate dialogues all the main ideas behind the inner conflicts of these characters. Take, for instance, the three siblings of the Pakistani family living in Glasgow: the older one is the traditionalist one, the middle one, protagonist Casim (Atta Yaqub) is the one torn between his love for Roisin (Eva Birthistle) and filial duty, and the youngest one is the revolutionary of the family, bent to follow the career path of her choosing (journalist) at the school of her choosing (in Edinburgh rather than Glasgow) where she would lead a life of her choosing. I thought this three-way division was simply too much to take. The fact that Roisin had her own dramas vis-à-vis religion as a music teacher in a Catholic school was predictable as well. Sure, the protagonists had chemistry and, I think, acted beautifully. In the end, though, I wasn't rooting for their love (if love is what it was; we were meant to believe it was, even though it looked mostly like an infatuation -- which, counterposed to the deep love of the family, fell very short in my eyes) because Roisin seemed to respond to every question about the welfare of people around them with something along the lines of "But my own heart? But your own heart, Casim?" It just didn't sound right. But this is not a flaw in the script, but rather a character's treatment which needs to be commended. The right way to feel, given all the circumstances of the love affair and Casim's family, is conflicted. Anyway, an enjoyable movie but way too stereotypical and ultimately forgettable. Also the sequence of scenes was boring. First the youngest daughter, then only the love affair for a long time, then back to family and quick resolution of everything (well, sort of, because the ending is rather open).
Writing this review I thought of another -- messier (in fact, at the opposite end of the spectrum) -- film dealing with the interplay between personal and social issues much more poignantly, and through a much more experimental approach to storylines and filming. That movie is called Ajami. Check it out.