An airy, fluttering mosaic of the lives of Islamic women in Beirut. Whilst lovingly shot with deft touch and charm, the perils of having five central storylines within a 95 minute time-frame is that not everything, or everyone, ends up with enough screen time to really delve into their desires, fears or psyches. There were threads that drew me in more so that others, but finished before they even properly began.
The phrase "it’s a man's world" certainly applies to the Beirut in which 'Caramel' is set, yet Labaki is able to reclaim the world for the women in the film by showing the small, but significant, victories, hopes and dreams of women who sometimes flounder under the sea of patriarchy, but always resurface to reclaim the love, dignity and friendship which should be their right.
There is something sweet and subtle about Nadine Labaki's film. Maybe almost feminist, definitely feminine. Absolutely delicious this peek into the conversations of women, usually with no men around. And what is shown is shown with candure and dignity, with humour and sensuality. Like the slowness, the color of caramel. And these are Lebanese women, arabic, francophone. Read between every two lines.
I thought it was beautiful. " Five Lebanese women tackling forbidden love, binding traditions, repressed sexuality, the struggle to accept the natural process of age, and duty vs. desire. Labaki's film is unique for not showcasing a war-ravaged Beirut but rather a warm and inviting locale where people deal with universal issues."