Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA, 1991. Pathé Entertainment, Ufland. Screenplay by David W. Rintels, based on the book by Betty Mahmoody and William Hoffer. Cinematography by Peter Hannan. Produced by Harry J. Ufland, Mary Jane Ufland. Music by Jerry Goldsmith. Production Design by Anthony Pratt. Costume Design by Nic Ede. Film Editing by Ofer Bedarshi, Terry Rawlings.
This terrifying drama would be a lot more effective if the overall attitude wasn’t so TV-Movie maudlin. Sally Field plays Betty Mahmoody (whose autobiography was this film’s basis), an American woman married to an Iranian man (Alfred Molina) who insists on taking his wife and daughter to his homeland so that they might appreciate the culture he comes from. Once there, he becomes an ogre of an Islamic fundamentalist tyrant, announcing that their little family will not be returning but will stay in Iran for good. Mahmoody’s efforts to flee the country with her little girl become the story’s terrifying conflict, and while it is a nailbiting thriller, it’s also very exploitative and far too one-dimensional for its own good. Mahmoody’s experience with an abusive husband seems to justify condemning all of Iran as a nation of evildoers, and the film’s coming out the same week as the beginning of the Gulf War didn’t help matters much either. Field is her typical shrieking, melodramatic self, and as usual it’s a strangely enjoyable thing to behold.