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I think your chances of enjoying this movie increases if you're not
burdened by having a penis and/or a brain.
The central theme seems to be that most males (except for a gay dance instructor) are complete and utter misogynistic assholes and perverts, not to mention racists. The two girls technically look good dancing, of course, but this movie is so full of self-righteousness and feministic self-pity that it somehow manages to make even a pair as gorgeous as these two come across as almost completely devoid of any sexiness. Of course, that's probably the last thing they're aiming to be -- I'm just warning any fellow male viewers out there who somehow think this movie is a good source for eye-candy. It's really not. Most characters are stereotypical caricatures and you're left with little else than the clear impression that the writers want to inform you that it's not easy to a be a woman, and especially not a non-caucasian immigrant woman. Which I'm sure is correct, to some extent, but it makes for a god-awful, hysterically untertaining(TM) movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Some critics are calling this engaging film a modern day 'Thelma and
Louise, but with a happy ending'. Yes, is it is a story about tow
disconsolate women who decide to take their lives in their own hands
and set out on a road trip to prove they can indeed survive. As written
by Joelle Touma and Marion Doussot and directed by Rachid Bouchareb
(highly regarded for his touching films 'Days of Glory' and 'London
River') JUST LIKE A WOMAN takes on a pair of women who have issues with
men and allows us to see the building of a friendship of meaning and
one that overcomes sour consequences with gentle grace.
Mona (Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani), 26, is an immigrant from Egypt who was brought to America by her now mother in law (Chafia Boudraa) to run her in-laws' mini market in Chicago and to marry her arranged husband is Mourad (Roschdy Zem), a kind and gentle man who can't stand up to his authoritarian mother. Mona is harassed by her mother-in-law because after five years of marriage, she hasn't be able to get pregnant, something that's considered a shame and a taboo in her culture. Marilyn (Sienna Miller), 29, is a receptionist at a computer repair company. Her marriage with Harvey (Jesse Bob Harper) is on the ropes. The only thing in her life that makes her happy is her belly dancing class as taught by her close friend Peter (Michael Ehlers) who sees Marilyn's gifts and encourages her to try out for a belly dancing group in Santa Fe, NM. Marilyn shops at Mona's mini-market and they have become friends who both incidentally love belly dancing. Two tragedies occur: Mona accidentally gives her mother-in-law a lethal dose of digoxin and fearing she will be arrested she flees; Marilyn loses her job because of the recession and when she arrives home she discovers Harvey cheating on her. With nothing left to lose, Marilyn decides to go to Santa Fe after all. Mona and Marilyn run into each other on a rest area on the side of a highway. They decide to continue the trip together. They cross the USA, pitching their tent in trailer parks and in the middle of the desert. They earn some cash belly dancing together in restaurants and bars. Back in Chicago, Mona is considered a fugitive; she's wanted for the murder of her mother- in-law. Harvey asks the police to look for Marilyn who disappeared without leaving a trace. How the plans of the two women who have become fast friends are resolved provides the somewhat surprise ending.
Miller and Farahani create a magnetic chemistry on screen and from the get-go they have us routing for their flight to freedom. The various characters they meet on this road trip are well acted and the general feeling at the end of the film is one of warm applause.
I was interested in seeing this movie because I really enjoy road trip
movies. Somehow you tend to meet interesting people and it comes out
well in movies especially when coupled with great outdoors. I was also
interested because it features Golshifteh Farahani who I really enjoyed
in About Elly (2009).
Just Like a Woman is the story of two wives. Egyptian born Mona lives with her husband and his mother. Mona's husband owns a shop which Marilyn visits. The mother-in-law treats Mona awfully because they can't have children and she blames it on her. Marilyn has a low paying job but doesn't complain. Then one day, she is fired with no notice, and saddened, she goes home to find her husband cheating on her. Around the same time, Mona accidentally mixes up her mother-in-law's medication which causes her mother-in-law's death. Afraid and lost, Mona runs away on the first bus she finds. Marilyn takes the car and leaves everything behind to pursue an audition to become a belly dancer. The two women then meet on a highway stop and continue their journey together.
I was pleasantly surprised with this movie. The two actresses do a really good job. One has to wonder why they cast an Iranian actress in an Egyptian character, is there a shortage of Arabic actresses? Sure, it's geographically closer than having Freida Pinto play a Palestinian but still. The movie starts with some really down on their luck women, but I appreciated the vision of running away as getting a second chance. It seems to hold the message that it's not the goal but the pursuit of it that really matters. Being not personally a fan of dance scenes in any movie, I was a little scared but the scenes are not too many and the ones that are there are actually beautiful.
The movie might hold a very feminist view and some will say that all men are portrayed as evil, however, I think the sweetest and most gentle character was the tribal security guard who helped them out. It is also to be noted that women are not all portrayed as angels as characterized with the scene of the woman watching from the mobile home's window or the mother-in-law. Some scenes might have been included for shock or emotional virtue alone but it brought out good acting. The Indian Reserve had really beautiful spots.
All in all, the movie might try a little too hard to have weakened characters in order to make them shine stronger when they succeed. In a way it's annoying but it is also more rewarding to see them overcome their struggles.
I liked: Road trip. A follow your dreams attitude.
I disliked: Feels a little forced sometimes. Were the racist remarks really needed or just added for shock value?
68/100 As a feminist I liked it, these women got stronger together and extracted themselves from their husbands' influence. For a breath of fresh air and a second chance.
Read more reviews at: www.theordinaryreview.blogspot.com
Like in Ridley Scott's film, so in this one we have the story of two desperate women who fed up with the depression they get from their lives, decide to try their own getaway in an effort to be free and liberated. Only in "Thelma and Louise" we have the case of two otherwise very "main stream" females like the big majority of the average ordinary women and wives of the real world are, who facing the same routine never realize the depression which marks them through the conformity of the men's world they have to live in as women, wives, girl friends. Given this,"Thelma and Louise"'s characters represent the average modern woman to whom they deliver a straightforward feminist message: "You think that you are free and emancipated, well you are not!" . In Buchareb's film on the other hand, being a woman is only a part of the whole thing. What we have here is the case of two persons who are oppressed not just because they are women, but also because they are "different" women. Oppressed by husbands, mothers in law, even other women either because they can not have children, or because they like belly dance, even because they are dark skinned, the suffer of the main characters of the film are clearly not only associated with their sex but also with the fact that they try to pursuit their unconventional wishes. Being women makes things worse, but even if they were males they would have to undergo the same or similar discrimination, hence the only ones who sympathize with them and are kind and helpful to them, are the ones who are victims of discrimination themselves - the Indian Americans of the Indian land area-. I did like the film. The story was intriguing and touching, the acting was good, and the Arab music sonic background adorable!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I watched this film thinking it will be a "Thelma and Louise" cross
"Flashdance" road movie. Why not? The poster with their face together
wearing shades, and blue sky and desert in the background, what could
go wrong? They seemed to had a good start, great actresses, and a new
theme (belly dancing), all except their weak story.
First of all, it's about belly dance, but it appeared to filmmaker that belly dancing was nothing more than waving arms and shimmying hips, and not a very good one at that. Whatever happened to belly rolls, backbends and other symbolic techniques? If these girls are as passionate as they claimed, they should be dancing beyond beginner's level.
And then there's the character built up. Obviously Mona's story was far more interesting, and if this were a film exploring foreign marital culture in America, it would have been perfect. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be the director's intention, he sent two cops to merely skimmed the surface, took up many unnecessary minutes on their investigation, which reflected very little of Mona's behavior, yet didn't help the case in the big way, police matter seem to just vanished in the middle of the story.
Marilyn's character was also lame. She could afford to pay rent, feed her white trash boyfriend, and pay for belly dance classes all with a single desk job, and then she drove out to nowhere for shows that could barely cover her gas money. What kind of women keeps camp-ready equipment in the back of her trunk anyway?
The ending left both characters uncertain of their future. Mona didn't want to return to her husband, even though he's nice enough to start a new life with her, Marilyn was worse, losing everything she came for, and nothing left in her return.
Finished watching the movie left me uncertain of what the filmmaker trying to say. Did he want to tell the story of Mona and explore her culture regarding mistreatment toward feminism? If so, it would have been better if the story was focus on Mona alone, with either the policemen or Marilyn explore Mona's world.
Or, if it's about character developments, there should be more conversations at the end, to show each other's view and future planning, show what they learned from this journey, as well as what WE learn from it. The film left audience puzzled and unsatisfied.
Not sure why Rachid Bouchareb would make such a movie. The guy's been
involved in some heavy-duty historical projects that have been very
well-received in the past.
Why, Rachid, why?
For some reason, all his movie magic goes right out the door in this uninspiring and impotent road movie featuring a Golshifteh Farahani, in her usual affected demeanor (deep, slow and tragic voice, and the big dark eyes that never seem to blink) entirely devoid of any charisma, a Siena Miller who's trying to save the scenes on her own, and some of the worse performances (lines are spoken artificially and thoughtlessly) from just about everyone. The fact that Bouchareb would hire a French actor like Roshdy Zem (who's otherwise a great actor) is evidence that somebody either lost a bet or had to repay a past favor. Zem is awkward speaking in English and his performance is none the better for it.
Farahani was magical and arresting in The Patience Stone. She had a lot of presence when she shared the screen with Di Caprio.
Her performance is a fail in Just like a Woman, as is Bouchareb's directing.
Nothing to see here, keep moving, folks.
An American road movie about two women in a red car. It's « Thelma &
Louise » from Ridley Scott for sure but you are wrong : it's this «
just like a woman » from french director Bouchareb. As he is a famous
director in my country for « Indigenes », i really don't understand why
this movie was still unknown, above all it has such famous cast : Zem +
Golshifteh + Sienna. In all cases, all my fellows french ignorant don't
know what they miss as it's really a strong, moving movie.
Maybe the stories of those women can be a little too much in despair and bad relationships (which husband can cheat on Sienna or be distant to Golshifteh ?) but their trip is just a great breath of liberty, freedom and dreams ! I don't know about you but i resent my actual life the same way they did : i'm a bachelor so maybe I don't know about quarrels but i'm for sure restless and if i'm not without job, the one i do is just alienation. So, like those 2 women, i would like to run away « where the streets have no name » like U2 sing accurately ! Actually, the movie offers this opportunity for a too short 90 minutes and in addition, it's also back to nature and escaping civilization because this team goes camping in the West.
And can you imagine that for this fundamental trip, you go along brunette Goldsifeth and blonde Sienna. It's a dream-team for me as i appreciate the two of them but if Sienna can find now at least one good movie, for personal reason, the black sad eyes of Goldsigeth just take me away !
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