What Will People Say (2017) Poster

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10/10
Thrilling Father and Daughter Fracas
Raven-196931 October 2017
"You mean everything to me," Mirza tells his teenage daughter Nisha. Apparently "everything" is far less important than what others might say, for Mirza cares deeply about such opinions. When it is discovered that Nisha sneaks out the window at night, adopts Western ways and is not the compliant and traditional Pakistani daughter she appears, Mirza goes ballistic. Nisha is as stubborn as her father though and manages to outsmart him at first, but there is little sympathy from other relatives. They encourage Mirza's firm hand. Nisha's smart phone is chucked into the snow, freedoms are drastically curtailed and Nisha is threatened with a one-way ticket to Islamabad. Sooner or later father or daughter, or both, must break.

I thought I knew where this film was going, but it went deeper than I thought it would and in different directions. The story is fantastic and thrilling; dead ends become glimmers of light (and the other way around), characters are torn apart by the choices they make and there are intriguing glimpses into the Norse and Pakistani ways of life. The director is a natural. She controls mood like a sorceress; sound is contrasted with silence, close-ups reveal the glimmer of flames in the eyes of characters and scenes flow seamlessly into each other. The acting is not flawless, but thoroughly convincing. The ending scene will stay with me, hopefully forever. Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival.
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3/10
When the plot is forced, credibility is lost
carol-788565 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILS ALERT! Actions in the film are discussed in the review. I kindly invite you to watch the film before reading the article.

DISCLAIMER: I dont have a background on cinema, nor I have lived in Pakistan or know in deep the Pakistani culture. I do not know to what extend is true what the film shows about the Pakistani traditions. My criticisms below refer solely to the way in which the story is developed in the film. Please feel free to comment, correct or elaborate on my thoughts. Discussions are more than welcomed. Also, I am not a native english speaker so please forgive the linguistic mistakes in the text.

"What will people say" starts with Nisha in party clothes and make up, racing breathlessly to her home in the dark, while her father is switching off lights and inspecting room by room that her siblings are all right in bed. Nisha arrives just in time to climb up the windows of her room, sneak behind the glass and jump into the mattress before his father steps inside the room and observes with a tender smile at his oldest daughter sleeping. It is a dynamic start in which the two conflicting mobiles of the story are well introduced: 1) Nisha belongs, at least in part, to the western culture and 2) his father loves and cares about her and her siblings. However, the hook of this strong beginning is soon lost by a development of a story in which actions are forced into a unique direction and the behaviour and choices of the characters contradicts the way they are introduced in the film.

First incoherence: Nisha is not being rise in the heart of a strictly traditional family. It is true that she has a double life. Behind her parents watch she is a "western" teenager, partying with her friends, smoking weed, flirting with guys. In the intimacy of her family however she is a calm, studious daughter. Nevertheless, nothing indicates that she is growing in a repressive environment. For instance, there is the scene of his father birthday. The father plays his favourite song and starts dancing with Nisha, her mother and her brother. When the party is over the mother complains to the father that it is shameful for women to dance in front of men, even if they are close relatives. The father is rather chill about the complaint and Nisha even states that it is stupid that family cannot dance together. No one blinks at the harsh words of Nisha, not even the classical "watch your mouth you child and respect your elders" kind of comment that -by the way- you would get in western families. In another scene Nisha arrives home. Her mum is doing the chores in the kitchen, her dad and brother are taking care of the accountability of the little store the family owns. The mother tells Nisha to help her, but Nisha refuses stating that she is exhausted and just like that sits at the table, texting in the phone. No one even questions the fact that everyone is working, with the chores or the business, while Nisha is just resting as she pleases. Later in the film we get to know that Nisha doesn't know how to cook and that she does not pray. How is that having such a traditionally minded parents as the ones the film depicts later we are presented to a 16 years' old that doesn't pray, doesn't cook, doesn't help in the house, and literally call stupid to the Pakistani traditions?

Second incoherence: Nisha knows very well where to draw the limits between home and her "western" life. For instance, in one scene we see Nisha playing basketball with her friends. She receives a call from her mum, looks at the time in the phone and with full resolution abandons the game and takes the way home. In another occasion she is coming back to her neighbourhood and her Norwegian love interest -they were never a couple as it is suggested in other reviews- starts walking next to her while engaging in a conversation. In a moment, Nisha sees a woman with a Muslim headscarf in the other street, coming towards them. She immediately interrupts the conversation with the boy and hurry up home. But for me, the key scene is the one in which Nisha is sitting at the table next to her father and her brother, who are doing the store accountability. Nisha is texting continuously in the phone. Her father realises and stares at her suspiciously. Just with one look back at her father Nisha understands he is suspicious about her texting. She quickly asks him to do a math calculation. The father is first confused, then Nisha lies and tell him that a friend of her is texting her, asking about maths. Nisha hides very well her other life, she is smart, and she knows how to fool her family. How is then possible that she ends up sneaking a boy into her room, in the middle of the night, right next to her parents' bed? She is not naïve, she is not stupid, she knows how to play the game and she knows there are parks, toilets, the house of the boy or anywhere else where they could go and have some privacy.

But no, she decides to bring the guy home and the obvious happen, they get discovered by the father. The father thinks they had sex and became blind in rave. And here comes the third incoherence in the film, to my view a big flaw in the argument: the immigrant father beats the underage native Norwegian to the point that the neighbours call the police. However not apparent consequences derive from his actions. WHAT?!!!! No way you beat an underage in Europe and you are not sent to prison, or at least face court. You would even risk the custody of your own children. No way an immigrant beats a native and it is not appearing all over the media the next day. The beating of the boy would have had huge consequences for Nisha's father, but no, in this film all the suffering is just canalized to the daughter.

And this bring us to the four incoherence, flaw or forced development in the movie: Nisha is kidnapped by her parents and sent to Pakistan because she is thought to have had sex with the boy and thereby she dishonoured herself and her family. After the incident with the boy occurred, Nisha ends up in the hands of social workers. These social workers are responsible of mediating between Nisha and the family, but specially they provide support to Nisha. All right, does any of the social workers thought about having a doctor examining the Imen of Nisha? It is true that we do not know whether Nisha has had sex or not before her Norwegian love interest. However, at least I will ask her the question. If she is still virgin it is really easy to show that her Imen is intact. She didn't have sex with the boy outside marriage, she didn't commit the huge dishonour she is being blame for. Still I agree that the family could have sent her to Pakistan, thinking that in any case kissing was already scandalous. However, as I discussed above, the family is not presented as a hardcore traditional one that will just risk "the better future in Norway for their children" they father said he wanted because of kissing.

But all right, we the audience accept that no one though about doing a medical examination of Nisha. The parents are more traditional than first depicted and Nisha is sent to Pakistan. There, we experience the fifth forced action in the movie: Nisha made out with her cousin, in the middle of the street in the night in Pakistan. They are discovered by the police. In a highly violent scene the police force the youngsters to get naked and pretend they are having sex. They take pictures, blackmail the family and get a chunk of money in exchange of their silence. Really? Is this whole scene likely to happen? Nisha was sent to Pakistan in the first place because she was discovered getting intimate with a male. Will she really risk the consequences of being discovered in the same situation a second time? Also, the movie leaves clear that Nisha is heavily westernized. If you are from the modern western culture the idea of having sex with a first cousin -a close relative- is considered gross. That for her would have already been a cultural barrier, regardless of how handsome -he is dammed handsome-is the cousin. But fine, she couldn't resist the charm of his cousin and she didn't mind the family bond. The cousin has spent all his life in Pakistan, she has spent 8 months. If you live in a place where the police are so corrupt and unpunished that they can do what they did to them for sure you know, for sure you have listened to stories or witnessed episodes of police violence against innocent people. Really you have never seen the police patrolling at night? It never crossed your mind what they could do to you if they catch you having sex in public in a traditional village?

The consequences of this second episode are the worst for Nisha. The cousin's parents refuse he marries her. She is almost assassinated by her father because of her "dishonourable" behaviour. At last she is brought back to Norway, where she commits to bend to the Pakistani norms and to regain the trust of her family. The ending of the film precipitates when Nisha is set up into an arrange marriage in Canada. The broom, a Pakistani doctor, doesn't want his future wife to study. She just needs to take care of the house and the children. Of course, Nisha ends up doing the only possible thing in her situation: she runs away from home. The last scene is Nisha disappearing into the street while her father looks at her through the windows.

I went to watch the film with high expectations. The trailer looked appealing and the first scenes promising. However, I soon felt disappointed. The film does not show the conflict between two different cultures, but the contrast between a western one which represents freedom and a middle east one which represents brutality and repression against women. Black and white, full stop. There is not thinking diversity in the Pakistanis in the film and the only image we have from Pakistan is the one of an isolated country enclosed in tradition.
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9/10
A moving experience !
santoshfrgt109 October 2017
I had the chance of seeing this movie screening in Bergen, Norway in Bergen International Film Festival, on 2nd Oct 2017. I had seen the trailer before and went with a bit of expectation. The movie exceeded my expectations with much difference. The debutante Mariah Mozdah is phenomenal portraying the daughter of a Pakistani family settled in Norway. She is torn apart between to cultures, the socially progressive Norway life and also her traditional family at home. Adil Hussain portrays the role of a doting father who values the societal norms and acceptance of his community very much. All of his thoughts comes under fire when he finds his daughter's white boyfriend. He decides to send his daughter to Pakistan, to his relatives, to discipline her and teach her their culture. Both Mariah and Adil have invested a lot of efforts into their performance. And the direction by Iram Haq really forces us to question and protest all the societal norms that we fear and surrender ourselves to knowingly and unknowingly. A must watch.
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9/10
The title says it all
SameirAli18 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
In a society like India and Pakistan, the people are more concerned about What Will People Say. Being a social animal, it is obvious that we respect the society. But, living for the society can be nightmare sometimes.

Nisha is a Norwegian teen with Pakistani roots. She is a typical teenager with her friends, but, trying her best to a good Pakistani girl at home. She is trying hard to balance this life. Her father Mirza is very concerned about his family. One night, he finds Nisha with her boy friend in her room. That was more than he could take for the poor father. Nisha tries to explain, but, she was kidnapped to Pakistan. In Pakistan, she is in a completely new environment. she never used to it before. Her resistance fail and she is trying to adopt the situation. But, that also ended wrong.

A very strong and powerful film that shows the bond and tension between a father and daughter relation.

The story was based on the real life experience of the Director. She was once kidnapped to Pakistan. Pakistan portion was shot in India. The Director felt it more safe and the fact that film industry is more developed in India.

A must watch for all film lovers. Do not miss it. #KiduMovie
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10/10
What a great experience!
ganjafor42011 October 2017
Just got home from the theater, and I have to say, this was a truly great film, and quite disturbing at times. I was deeply moved by it, and I think a lot of the people that saw it, were also. The ending is just perfect. It made me really appreciate how safe I feel in my community, and to really feel how much of a difference there is between certain cultures. A must watch in my book! 10/10
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9/10
The title says it all.
SameirAli16 December 2017
In a society like India and Pakistan, the people are more concerned about What Will People Say. Being a social animal, it is obvious that we respect the society. But, living for the society can be nightmare sometimes.

Nisha is a Norwegian teen with Pakistani roots. She is a typical teenager with her friends, but, trying her best to a good Pakistani girl at home. She is trying hard to balance this life. Her father Mirza is very concerned about his family. One night, he finds Nisha with her boy friend in her room. That was more than he could take for the poor father. Nisha tries to explain, but, she was kidnapped to Pakistan. In Pakistan, she is in a completely new environment. she never used to it before. Her resistance fail and she is trying to adopt the situation. But, that also ended wrong.

A very strong and powerful film that shows the bond and tension between a father and daughter relation.

The story was based on the real life experience of the Director. She was once kidnapped to Pakistan. Pakistan portion was shot in India. The Director felt it more safe and the fact that film industry is more developed in India.

A must watch for all film lovers. Do not miss it. #KiduMovie
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9/10
A Story from the Frontline of The Cultural Divide
biisuto5 July 2018
This is a haunting story of a young woman seeking a balance between love for her family and her desire to live a normal life in her adopted country. In telling the story of Nisha, an immigrant walking the cultural tightrope between her Pakistani heritage and her home outside of Norway's capital, the film is a strong, unblinking statement about the imminent savagery still menacing women and girls who won't conform to the imported, conservative cultural values and behaviours their parents strive to maintain, amid the economic benefits they want from affluent liberal modernity.
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1/10
An Indian attempt to look Pakistani
burairbaba29 November 2018
The movie starts with a Pakistani family living in Norway in a very traditional way, with their daughter being quite Norwegian. This was so far so good until the girl is sent to Pakistan (read India), for getting caught with a boy in her bedroom. The city was meant to look like Quetta, a city close to the border of Afghanistan, the capital of Balochistan, the largest province of Pakistan,. But seemed to look more like Dehli than any Pakistani city. Quetta is quite rocky in its landscape, it is bowled shape city, with hilly covering the city from all directions, without any grenery whatsoever. The actors were indian. Their accents were like anything but of Pakistani's, their vocabulary was not how the people of Quetta speak, but what the "Indians" supposedly think the entire speaks. E.g. no one calls it "Panipuri" but "gol gappay". There have been moments when a Hindi word was used, also a scene in which a sign board in Hindi was visible. It was very hard for me to finish the movie, seeing the Indians trying to pretend to be Pakistanis. Everytime I tried to connect to the movie, something Indian pinched me, and it's sting got only more and more painful. It's not that these things do not happen in Pakistan. But the director should have come to Pakistan and at least get in touch with a local, (it's not that difficult to do so) or just make the story about an Indian girl. It's the same thing. Otherwise this movie is downright offensive. The plot was ok, it is pretty similar to (if not borrowed from) a Pakistani movie "Khuda kay liye" "In the name of God". The movie lacked continuity of events, as a lot of things were implicit, which I believe should have been presented in a better way.

So no Thankyou.
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2/10
Poor Knowledge
u-1471510 February 2019
In the movie director showed a pakistani family but failed to show accent of urdu even when part of the film had shown in Pk. Girls are singing wrong pakistani national anthem with wrong accent. So director should have the knowledge about the country from which she is making a movie.
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8/10
It could have all gone wrong, but it went so right Warning: Spoilers
"Hva vil folk si" or "What Will People Say" is a new Norwegian movie that premiered in 2017 already and managed a solid amount of awards recognition already and I truly hope a lot will follow. Writer and director of these 105 minutes is Iram Haq and her name already gives away vaguely the direction this film is going to take. There is not too much Norwegian in here except the boyfriend early on perhaps. This is the story of a Muslim teenager stuck between modern age-appropriate life and the bodns that come with her religion. When she gets caught with her boyfriend by her conservative father, he and her brother abduct her and take her back in the country of her forefathers where she is supposed to find out about the core values of who she is. Or I should say who everybody else wants her to be. It is really tragic. This film is not scared at all of depicting taboos and it is all very shocking. The abduction scene is one example. Another is the constant physical and psychological violence brought upon the poor young woman. It's a journey of suffering. And the status quo in the country where she is abducted too really made me shiver. The scene with the officers is particularly shokcing really when also an element of sexual abuse comes into play. Heartbreaking stuff how she is punished again and again for thing she did not even do and even if she did it would have been something girls her age do when they feel affection, maybe even love, for somebody else. Another less drastic, but equally sad moment was when she listens to the conversation between her dad and the boy's dad and the boy himself because it seems she really likes him, but of course he is also unable to break through and stand up to her and go against his dad. There is nobody supporting her in her life. And tha last chapter with the forced marriage and her basically being sent to Canada where she will have nothing in her life other than an existence as a (house)wife and mother to a not particularly handsome doctor and his future children. This is the moment that her father realizes how wrong he ahs been, at least to some extent and it's finally the first time he lets her go at the very end, which is as close to a happy end the film can get while still managing to stay realistic. Sure you could ask if it feels authentic that he watches while doing nothing when she runs away with all he did before, especially the potential suicide scene, but I let him get away with that because the one area where he always wanted his daughter to be happy was when it came to her dreams in the world of jobs and professions. And after all, he did not have the power to kill her himself, not even close. He was suffering a lot at the same time too. I actually really liked that the last shot of the film was on his face and not on the daughter as it showed how he stays back and she may be on her way into a hopefully happier life and world at that point. A great cast overall and a huge thumbs-up to Maria Mozhdah, who is a scene stealer in every scene from start to finish and may have a very bright career ahead of her. Same thumbs up to woman filmmaker Haq for her bold and painfully real depiction here. She is not willing to make things right. There is no emotional ending with the family unrealistically loving and hugging the daughter out of nowhere. It would have been a joke actually with the mother saying shortly before that that she wishes Nisha would never have been born. A film that is painful to watch because of how good it is and how close it is to the truth. I would not be surprised at all if this story happed to 100s, maybe 1000 Nishas out there who eventually ended up stuck in an unhappy (for them) marriage. Highly highly recommended,one of 2017's very best movies. Some gerat talent involved here. An absolute must-see.
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6/10
A view of Indian/Pakistani Culture.
Amyth4716 February 2019
My Rating : 6/10

Some viewers find the movie exaggerated and perhaps not real but I think the movie does a good job in exploring the relationship between immigrant parents and their children who have assimilated in the Western culture and don't have the same belief system as their parents.

All of the cliches shown are indeed the exact thought processes of immigrant parents unfortunately. An underrated film, put together with care and an eye for detail and depth.
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1/10
False Portrayal
momnajahan29 July 2018
If you want to make a film about Pakistani culture, cast pakistani actors or at least film it in Pakistan. because the only place which slightly looks like the place shown in the film is in old Lahore. Also the fact that festival movies like these only portray the same old narrative. theyre are millions of people in Pakistan with a much more "liberal" mindset than that.
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10/10
One of best.
muhammad_salman_israr18 September 2018
One of best films I have ever watched. If you want sheer entertainment,this isn't for you, but if you want to experience great visual literature,then this is must watch.
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10/10
Some culture clashes are not funny
Red-1257 February 2019
The Norwegian film Hva vil folk si (2017) was shown in the United States with the title "What will people say." It was written and directed by the Norwegian-Pakistani director Iram Haq.

Maria Mozhdah plays Nisha. She's a teenager who has grown up in Norway. She lives with her parents and her older brother. Nisha clearly is integrated into her Scandinavian culture, but the rest of her family is not.

They appear to have no interest in Norway or Norwegians. Everything for them revolves around the other members of the Pakistani community. "What will people say" is the most important question for them.

Because Nisha doesn't conform, she is punished severely. It's amazing that this narrative film is actually based on events that happened to director Iram Haq.

In Bend it like Beckham, we have a comedy based on cultural clashes within an Indian family in England. This movie isn't like that. Cultural obedience becomes a literal matter of life and death.

Hva vil folk si is a grim, powerful film. Maria Mozhdah is a superb actor and she makes Nisha come to life. The movie wouldn't work with a less talented actor as the protagonist.

We saw this film at Rochester's outstanding Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman Museum. It will work well enough on the small screen. I highly recommend it.
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9/10
A masterpiece.
adityakripalani3 November 2018
The claustrophobia one feels during this film is almost unparalleled. You feel what this Pakistani girl in Norway feels. The filmmaker is in complete control of the craft and knows each frame she wants to use. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is over the top. From sub characters to main characters everyone has done a pitch perfect job. Adil Hussain's last look at us is haunting. And the young girl who's the protagonist is absolutely lovely. What a film. A feminist masterpiece. Kudos to the team.
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8/10
A truthful betrayal of the cost women have to pay for honour in Pakistan
me_sweety21 December 2018
Some Pakistanis would vociferously scream that the portrayal of Pakistani culture and norms is blatantly exaggerated here. Well, let me tell you. It isnt. Pakistani parents, including those who live abroad are willing to sacrifice and kill their daughters if there need be for the sake of their honour. The typical middle class man's obsession with his daughters chastity is certainly not exaggerated. The film beautifully captures the diaspora, the claustrophobia and the contradictory nature of Nisha's life. The last scene in which her fathers reflection stares at us is brilliant. But some things are sure exaggerated. I donot know if those stem out of ignorance or a desire to appease the "white audience" with their saviour complex. I do not know if they tried to portray Islamabad or Quetta in the movie-if it was Islamabad then it was obviously very wrongly portrayed. It is a fully developed urban city with internet connection. Same with Quetta. One does not need to run to far off stores in search of internet! Also who in their right minds would make out in a street in Pakistan unless you live in Defence or something? I mean maybe the police can react the way they did in the movie but thats rare and pertaining to the special circumstance that both the people are very young and from a familiar area. I can understand this because I am a Pakistani but one might make a lot of assumptions if they arent. Moreover, everything that Nisha went through was very very traumatic. Her grief and sanity still seems pretty intact for someone who went through a lifetime of trauma. Still very willing to please her parents. Or maybe thats my peronal opinion. All that aside, donot sit without grabbing a tissue paper because this is a highly unsettling movie.
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6/10
Exagaration
sohrab_mar13 February 2019
I am from middle east ( Iran ) and understand the seriousness of unallowed sexual behaviour, but , I still think there is exagaration on the level of violance and cruelty against a little girl ... while family might be harsh with girls, at the same time, they highly support and guard their honor (specially female members of the family , mother , sister ...). Unlesse people from Pakistan confirm that the story can be true in Pakistan only !!
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1/10
An ethnocentric brainwashing, false depiction of cultures.
zebo199310 February 2019
The movie is highly judgemental and tries to vilify an entire culture based on individual conceptions. The director is requested to kindly study culture in-depth before trying to paint such an evil image of it.
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7/10
Great Visual Literature
nikitakhare-9321517 November 2018
In case you plan to watch this movie, be ready to be emotional. It succeeds in expressing the feelings of a teenager who is forcefully abandoned in an unknown nation to never known relatives. The freedom of the teenager is denied in the name of religion, but the question is " Does the religion asks us to be bonded"? Anyways the story explains beautifully how some parents become devils in a child's life and the ultimate goal of a women should be marrying and serving her family.
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10/10
Absolutely fantastic, a masterpiece auteur film
lorenzopedone2 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
It is a fantastic director's original film! The story is very beautiful and very engaging. It treats an actual problem connected with a sort of cultural "backwardness" of Pakistani and in general Asian cultures. It is strange to say that I've seen the film in Italy at the Bifest (Bari International Film Festival), and in the same days a young girl was murdered in Pakistan by his father and his brother because she had refused his arranged marriage.
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1/10
insulting other culture's is not a good way to win award
raamin_anzalichi28 December 2018
Like other movies and like this one, directors learn to assure western viewers look how they are bad and how you are good.how their cultures pudency stinks and nudity in your culture is right! and then festivals gave directors rewards!!!!!
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1/10
Another overrated failure
lars-o-wangen31 December 2017
I was forced to watch this with my school, as a film interested person i had high hopes. False hopes, i do not understand why people in Norway liked it so much why do they praise bs like this? It was empty and the subject is so overused, if we want more international success we have to create more inspiring, entertaining movies. Instead of this lame awful dull trash, that they force us to see.
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1/10
pls read carol-78856 review.
raamin_anzalichi28 December 2018
Pls read carol-78856 review. he/she completely explain every thing you should now
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9/10
What a movie!
sverrehu11 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
*** Spoiler alert ***

I normally shy away from Norwegian-made movies, because they tend to be bad. But this movie makes me, as a Norwegian, proud again. The father who thought he was doing the correct thing, and then, in the end realized that he had failed miserably, actually made me cry. I think this is one of the best movies ever made with "Norway" stamped in the corner. Although it has nothing to do with Norway, except that the brillant director and main actress live here. I totally take my hat off for you, Iram Haq and Maria Mozhdah!
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1/10
Definitely not a depiction of Pakistani culture
talha_g0411 January 2019
This movie is a completely wrong depiction of Pakistan's culture and society! No wonder it was not even filmed in the country! An attempt to give a bad name to the country! Complete 180 degree to the real face and culture and doesn't even touch social problems prevelant in Pakistan expatriate families. Atleast you should have mentioned it in credits that you filmed it in India!
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