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A young Bangladeshi woman, Nazneen, arrives in 1980s London, leaving behind her beloved sister and home, for an arranged marriage and a new life. Trapped within the four walls of her flat in East London, and in a loveless marriage with the middle aged Chanu, she fears her soul is quietly dying. Her sister Hasina, meanwhile, through letters to Nazneen, tells of her carefree life back in Bangladesh, stumbling from one adventure to the next. Nazneen struggles to accept her lifestyle, and keeps her head down in spite of life's blows, but she soon discovers that life cannot be avoided - and is forced to confront it the day that the hotheaded young Karim comes knocking at her door. Written by
Sony Pictures Classics
Anything is possible when you are young. Then you get older and the thing about getting older is that you don't need everything to be possible anymore, you just need some things to be certain.
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Before I go any further - I have not read the book. I might now do so, however, as I believe with books and movies, it's usually best to see the film first. So much has to be lost when one transfers a story to screen, that the book is almost always an enriching experience.
I fell over this almost in error at my local DVD store, so I did not see it on a big screen, which I would have liked. quite apart from the scenery and photography, it might have helped to be able to see the sub titles! There weren't that many of those, not enough to spoil the story.
I felt that the early childhood scenes, in their innocence and sudden suicide of the mother, then leading to the point where the father could not keep both daughters at home and so arranged the marriage (my interpretation) to this "educated man" in England, were heartbreaking in retrospect, and there was quite a bit of yearning and retrospection for the poor bride. We met her some astonishing 17 years later, with her teenage daughter and younger child, not sure how old she was. They were not afraid of life, whereas their mother seemed to be virtually housebound from terror. When she met the neighbour who lent/gave the sewing machine to her, it was an enormously liberating experience for her and she began to think and act differently. The young man who was the catalyst in the change for the family, could have had two heads, she was so desperate for the fun and affection that she believed her sister to be experiencing. Her husband, a bumbling poor soul, whom life constantly overlooked was unable to cope with his daughter's puberty let alone the mounting reaction to 9/11. He became more lovable as the film progressed, obviously to both Nazeem and myself.
The usurer who tried to blackmail Nazeem into extra payments, the neighbour and the others with small parts in the story were all as exquisitely drawn as the main characters. Nazeem began to understand that her life was her reality and when she held her husband's hand on the way home from the Bengal Tigers' meeting, one had a real sense of her maturity. There is so much more to this story than the top layer. I loved so many aspects of it - the acting, the photography, the story. Maybe it was simplified almost beyond belief, but that is normal. I found it moving, educational and hugely enjoyable. I shall recommend it.
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