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 ...
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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
While Chatterjee is a native Bangla speaker from Indian origin, neither of the male leads are native Bangla speakers. See more »
No one told me there are different kinds of love. The kind that starts deep and slowly wears away; that seems you will never use it up and then one day it is finished. Then there is the kind you do not notice at first but which adds a little bit to itself every day like an oyster makes a pearl, grain by grain, a jewel from the sand. That is the kind I have come to know.
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A story simply told, often told, can be an affirmation of our shared humanity. And so it is with Brick Lane, about a Muslim immigrant woman, Nazneen (Tannishtha Chatteriee), coming to East London in the early 1980's. Her repression as a housewife is the stuff of cultural cliché and also occasionally boring as we endure her silence in the face of a narrow minded businessman husband.
A beautiful but cloistered young wife may stray if her husband is loutish enough, and Nazeen's qualifies (Salish Kaushik). The rewarding part of the film comes with how the devout Nazeen deals with her sin and how the writers (Abi Morgan, Laura Jones) deliver a credible denouement. That ending is a bit of a twist but satisfactory.
Cinematographer Robbie Ryan has successful color and composition, almost too beautiful for the side of London I go to when I need slice-o-life experience. Credit or blame is awarded to young helmer Sarah Gavron for the painterly shots. Kitchen sink this is not, nor does it have the gritty insights and colorful characters of a Mike Leigh film such as Secrets and Lies. But it does put you in touch with the challenges of a beautiful woman in a culture where men are all that count.
In the future, more films will deal with the emergence of talented women overcoming the restrictions their cultures and religions have placed on them. If the films are as honest as Brick Lane, progress will tear down the brick wall of prejudice but not without doubts and not without a nod to the goodness tradition has offered as well. That ambivalence is at the center this subtly ambitious film.
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