Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Director: Nadine Labaki
MPAA Rating: PG 13
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Website: Where Do We Go Now?
In an isolated village where Christians and Muslims live side by side, the frustrated women take it upon themselves to save their men from themselves by any means available!
The movie is adorable and I loved it. We Americans have a great many preconceived notions about how Muslims, and Arabs for that matter, view us and a lot of our Christian beliefs. Rarely, while we are bemoaning the lack of status or voice their women hold, do we even acknowledge that the women of these Arabic countries are just as strong and determined as their men – sometimes even more so than anyone realizes. In war, when the men, our brothers and fathers and sons, go off to fight and die, we women are left behind to lament these things they feel they just have to do, and that’s what this movie is all about. Keeping the village together, often despite or because of, what the men in there do.
So it’s apparently a seriously isolated village, to get to anywhere a pair of young men take a seriously rickety bike loaded with things for sale across a very perilous chasm. The village already has it’s share of problems, poverty being the most prevalent it seems to me. Christians and Muslims live side by side and don’t really give eachother any grief, even the Priest and the Imam get along just fine. But then, someone gets the brilliant idea to trek an almost nonfunctional television up the hills to where the whole village can watch, and of course some man just has to see the news, which sparks a whole bunch of good natured screaming amongst the women trying to distract their men from the outside world and it’s news of religious wars. These women, they try so very very hard, to distract their men. Everything from a faked miracle with the Madonna, the staged hiring of some Ukranian strippers, to the spiking of a mandatory town meeting with hashish cookies! One mother goes so far as to, when her son returns dead from his venture into town to sell village goods and gets caught in the religious hatred crossfire as he’s leaving, to hide her beloved son and tell everyone looking for him that he has the mumps and it’s very contagious. Never at any point in the movie, do the women let their religious differences tear them apart, knowing that they will need unity to stop the men from destroying eachother over this (relatively) simple matter of religion. And the final solution that the women, in bemusement and despair, lob onto their men at the end is actually very funny and totally appropriate. Of course, they still have the corpse of a beloved son to bury, and noone is quite sure if it should be in the Christian or Muslim parts of the communal graveyard, but that was a very fine and thought-provoking note to end the film on.