Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Canada, 2005. T. L. Boulton. Screenplay by Ruba Nadda. Cinematography by Luc Montpellier. Produced by Tracey Boulton. Music by Geoff Bennett, Andre Hirz, Ben Johannesen. Production Design by Jonathan Dueck. Costume Design by Kimberley Ann Rush. Film Editing by Teresa Hannigan.
Old world traditions are tossed to the wind when a Syrian Muslim woman decides to throw off the shackles of convention and follow her heart. Beautiful Sabah (Arsinée Khanjian) flouts her brother’s narrow views of female modesty and becomes a regular swimmer at a local pool, there meeting a non-Muslim man (Shawn Doyle) with sensitive eyes who is smitten with her right away. Despite herself, Sabah spends time with this irresistibly likeable guy, eventually finding herself madly in love and arriving at a crossroads where her decision about their relationship becomes a decision about where she stands in the world. Filmed very quickly on a low budget, the film has some awkward performances and a few creaky moments but is overall pleasant, challenging and satisfying, not to mention sunny and beautiful throughout. Khanjian is a wonder in the lead, finally starring in a film that has her smiling and laughing for two hours as opposed to the dreary characters she’s often playing in husband Atom Egoyan’s films, while director Ruba Nadda manages to keep the proceedings bouncy enough to avoid the obvious My Big Fat Muslim Wedding comparisons that are bound to be made.