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Maryam (2002)

 -  Drama  -  22 February 2002 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 251 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 14 user | 19 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

An Iranian-born teenager living in suburban New Jersey thinks of herself as simply an American until anti-Iranian sentiment erupts in her community after American hostages are held in Iran.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Mariam Parris ...
Mary Armin
...
Ali Armin
...
Dr. Darius Armin
...
Homa Armin
...
Reza
Victor Jory ...
Jamie
...
Jill
...
Pete
Jason Nash ...
Joel
...
Leila
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Ali
Gillian Thomas ...
High school girl
Edit

Storyline

An Iranian-born teenager living in suburban New Jersey thinks of herself as simply an American until anti-Iranian sentiment erupts in her community after American hostages are held in Iran.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Cultures clash. Hearts break. People change.

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 February 2002 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$10,123 (USA) (22 February 2002)

Gross:

$104,209 (USA) (14 June 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In the scene where Mary's father (Darius) turns around and leaves, after he is prevented from entering the store after the store owner posts the "Closed" sign and hides in the back, a 1990 Volvo 740GL rolls slowly by in the street in front of him. The film's setting is 1979. See more »

Soundtracks

Until We Meet Again
Written by Joe Lervold
Performed by Joe Lervold (as Joel Evans) & Patrick Maier
Courtesy of MasterSource Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
3.5 stars
10 July 2002 | by (Silicon Valley, CA) – See all my reviews

The year is 1979. There are lines at the gas stations and a revolution in Iran. As the film opens, we see archival news footage from the latter story as the soundtrack plays "Good Times Roll" by The Cars. We meet Maryam (Mariam Parris), who is a high school senior in New Jersey. She was born in Iran, but knows almost nothing of that culture. She is the anchor for the school television news program, goes by the name Mary at school, and generally seems comfortable in her life, although her parents are a little more strict than most.

Soon she learns that her cousin Ali (David Ackert) is coming from Iran to live with the family and attend a local university. Ali's father died years ago, and his mother recently died as well. When he arrives, he seems very uncomfortable with American life -- people (even women!) shake hands, dance, and do all sorts of things that Ali is used to thinking of as immoral in his native, Ayatollah Khomeini-controlled country. Ali thinks the Ayatollah has been a *good* change for Iran, and that the deposed Shah is evil. Maryam's reply is that the Ayatollah "calls the U.S. the Great Satan. I mean, the guy could lighten up a little."

The key characters in the film are Maryam and Ali. I thought Parris was outstanding in the former role, showing both emotion and typical high school irreverence with equal skill. Ackert was harder to judge, but he did make me believe that Ali was *very* uncomfortable with most of what he saw of America, and I can't recall any sour notes in his performance, so it was at least acceptable. The remaining actors, especially Maryam's parents, were less developed but also quite believable.

The writing, direction, cinematography, and so on were also quite good, but what really sets this film apart is the way that it shows how hateful and intolerant American society can be. Especially after the American embassy hostages are taken, almost everyone becomes very cold to the entire family -- the militant Islamic Ali as well as the totally Americanized Maryam -- regardless of past friendships. Because we have had the opportunity to get to know these Iranians as human beings, the escalating hatred is that much harder to watch.

This film was made well before the events of 9/11, so the obvious parallels to the current distrust of anyone who looks like he might be Afghani were not planned. But this film is outstanding in its ability to remind us to see the person and not the label. See it if you have the chance. Unfortunately, it has closed where I saw it, so you might be forced to wait (and hope) for home video.

Seen on 6/19/2002.


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