In England, the Pakistanis Yasmin lives two lives in two different worlds: in her community, she wears Muslin clothes, cooks for her father and brother and has the traditional behavior of a Muslin woman. Further, she has a non-consumed marriage with the illegal immigrant Faysal to facilitate the British stamp in his passport, and then divorce him. In her job, she changes her clothes and wears like a Westerner, is considered a standard employee and has a good Caucasian friend who likes her. After the September, 11th, the prejudice in her job and the treatment of common people makes her take side and change her life. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In the scene where Yasmin chases off a group of boys who are throwing milk at a Muslim woman, an old lady comes up and apologizes for their behavior. This moment was completely unscripted - the crew were filming on a real street and the old lady was just a passer-by who hadn't noticed the cameras. See more »
At the beginning, when Yasmin is putting on her jeans, her belt is done up in the long shot, but is undone when the view immediately changes to a medium shot. See more »
A good, if condensed and extreme summary of the Muslim experience since 11/9/01 with a good title performance
Yasmin Husseini lives with her father, brother, uncle and her "husband" her marriage to immigrant Faysal being an arrangement between families as opposed to a relationship. Divorce is on the cards as she is very together and British-born while his poor English and "uncivilised" ways grate on her. Living a traditional Muslim life at home for her father but living like a "Westerner" at work, Yasmin is forced to take sides when a news flash comes onto the TV on the afternoon of September 11th 2001. Treated differently by everyone, Yasmin tries to get on the best she can but soon learns about the true nature of new UK terror laws when it turns out that Faysal who has a brother back home who teaches at a school funded by the KLF.
Described by another reviewer on this site in his name-dropping but useful review on this site as a "light-hearted comedy", this film was clearly not marketed well if that's what people thought it was going to be rather it is a solid drama that looks at the impact of 11/9/01 on the British Muslim community many of the younger generation, like Yasmin, have much more in community with western values than with those preached by Bin Laden. On the face of it the film could have been a very PC affair with a load of pandering; however, aside from loads of "white authority" stereotypes the film is pretty balanced and interesting look at the plight of Yasmin. The story is interesting enough and lots of issues are touched on interracial relationships, fear, old world versus western values, disaffected youth and so on; mostly it all works although the nature of the beast means that Yasmin's situation is quite extreme because so many situations are rolled into the experience of the Husseini family.
The cast is pretty good though and it is mainly their work that keeps it worked and stops their characters just being big clichés. Panjabi is a good actress and her Yasmin is well crafted with conflicting loyalties and desires, making her an interesting character and a good performance. Ahmed's Nas is a good performance, very natural, and it is not his fault that he has to carry the extreme experience of disaffected youth being drawn into terrorism. Jackson is lumbered with a poor character merely a combination of all the mistrust that we are being old that "all white people" have towards Islam; he tries his best and is natural at the start but once 9/11 occur he is clumsy and poorly written when viewed next to Yasmin.
Overall this is a good film that does a good job of summarising the Muslim experience since they became public enemy #1. Being Northern Irish, I know how it feels (and also know how it feels to suffer under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, as was) and I am not too sympathetic with Muslims groups who play the race card in every discussion on this subject, so I liked that the film didn't do that. The title role is well performed and the film does a good job of pulling a lot together without making it one big clichéd PC mess.
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