Sabah (2005) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Sabah is 40, single, an immigrant from Syria living in Toronto with her family, responsible for her mother's well-being. Since her father's death, her brother Majid has been the family authority. His niece doesn't want him choosing her husband, his marriage is rocky, but he insists on tradition. Sabah meets Stephen at a city swimming pool; they're attracted to each other. Because he's not a Muslim, Sabah hides their friendship from her family. Where can this relationship go? Can this family sort out its tensions?

  • In Toronto, forty year old Syrian-Canadian Sabah is a traditional Muslim, whose full-time job is as caregiver to her ailing widowed mother, Um Mouhammed. The two, Sabah's sister Shaheera and Shaheera's eighteen year old daughter Souhaire live off the money left to the family from Sabah's now deceased father, that money which is controlled with an iron fist by Sabah's brother, Majid. Majid acts as the male figure in the extended family in what is a typically patriarchal culture, where all the decisions are made by the men. Despite the fact that Majid married for love to his wife Amal, he is trying to set up an arranged marriage for Souhaire to a young man named Mustapha who Souhaire has not yet met. Being western in mentality having been born in Canada, Souhaire is resisting as she wants ultimately to make her own decision of to who and when she will get married. Sabah has always been self-conscious of herself as a sexual being because of being Muslim, and focusing solely on her assigned role within the family, which is controlled by Majid, including how she spends all her time. But what Souhaire is going through makes Sabah slowly do things for herself on the sly. On her one day per week outing to swim at the local pool by herself, Sabah meets fellow swimmer Stephen Montpellier, a woodworker. Slowly, Sabah allows Stephen into this secret life she is leading, first solely meeting that one day per week at the pool, then dating. But Sabah is reluctant to tell anyone in her family about Stephen as she knows they would never approve of him being a non-Muslim. As the two start to fall in love, they will individually have to decide if there is a future for them, with the sole obstacle being this Muslim/non-Muslim divide, where Sabah is constantly looking over her shoulder to see if anyone she knows, especially judgmental Majid, would spot the two of them together, and where Stephen may feel like a person not good enough in her eyes to be recognized publicly.

  • One day, when Sabah least expects it, she falls in love with the wrong man. She's Muslim, he's not. Unbeknownst to her family, she goes on a whirlwind affair before both culture and love collide.


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