Two women get on the highway heading to Santa Fe. Marilyn dreams of winning a contest held by a famous belly dancing company, while her friend, Mona, has a secret: she's a fugitive from justice - accused of her mother-in-law's death.
Mona (Golshifteh Farahani), 26, an immigrant from North Africa, runs her in-laws' mini market in Chicago. She's married to Mourad, a 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 been 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 is on the ropes. The only thing in her life that makes her happy is her belly dance class, a passion shared by Mona. Dancing at family gatherings lifts her spirits up and makes her forget the misery of her daily life. Marilyn shops at Mona's mini-market. They've become friends. One morning, Mona's mother-in-law is found dead in her bed. Mona realizes that she mixed the wrong dose while preparing her medicine. Realizing that she might be accused of murder, Mona runs away and flees Chicago by bus. Marilyn loses her job because of ...Written by
Cohen Media Group
Mayte Garcia was considered for the role of Marilyn & was offered to choreograph the belly dancing sequences as well. See more »
At the 36:35 mark, as Mona is sleeping leaning on the passenger door of the car, in the passenger side mirror can be seen the arm of a crew member in the back seat wearing a white t-shirt. See more »
Habibi Dah Nari Narien
Written by Ayman Bahgat Kamar (credited under alternate name, Ayman Bahjat Qamar)
Composed by Riadh Al Hamshari
Performed by Hisham Abbas & Bombay Jayashri (uncredited)
Courtesy of EMI Music Arabia Fze & EMI Music Publishing Ltd. See more »
I was pleasantly surprised with this movie.
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.
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