Went to see "When MonaLiza Smiled" last night here in Amman. When I came in, I didn't expect much. For one, I'm a jaded and cynical lawyer who used to work in the Entertainment industry in Los Angeles, so I generally think of 90% of movies as complete crap. And because, compared to the Israeli or Iranian movie industries, Arab film-making still has far to go. Consequently, I didn't have high hopes. I basically expected yet another fare of Arab made-for-TV-movie quality where I would spend most of the night checking my smart phone and sleeping.
However, I was immensely surprised by how good "When MonaLiza Smiled" was. I'm not sure how to describe the movie to my fellow foreigners - but it's basically like the Jordanian version of "Amelie". It's sweet, insightful, and entertaining. The characters are well drawn with good back stories. The movie makes good points about the complexity of Jordanian and Arab society without ever seeming "preachy". And it's just a generally fun date movie.
I look forward to seeing other movies by this director/writer. He's got talent. If he can produce a movie of this quality on $120,000 budget- it will be impressive to see what he can do in the future with a few million. A+.
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