Though I'm sure the best of intentions were present in adapting this book to the screen, I'm afraid the film is somewhat of a misfire. Four chapters following four women with the title character's section being the weakest. Frieda Pinto miscast here and very out of her depth. Great performances in earlier sections by Hiam Abbas and Yasmine Elmasri. The film's political stance seems to work against its morale.
I really do not understand all the hate and negativity this film is garnering. I saw it at TIFF and was actually Blown Away. Fuck tha haters. The way the camera is used is completely unique and effective. Freida Pinto's performance was captivating. I personally loved its structure and story. Great use of music, from Ennio Morricone to Tom Waits. Equal parts Political/Coming of age film. Very powerful.
I think Schnabel is one of the greatest filmmakers of our day however this one is a bit choppy. I have to admire the content and approach. It does contain beautiful moments as would be expected from this director, but overall the episodic structure of the film hurts its' outcome. Still definitely worth watching and a solid b-side for Schnabel.
Reading the book first, and being a fan of Schnabel, I don't see any problems with this film. It's a gutsy piece of work, and high up there along with The Diving Bell & The Butterfly and Before Night Falls. The images aren't far from what I imagined they would be. Hiam Abbas, Alexander Siddig, & Yasmine Elmasri are superb in their roles.
A sympathetic portrayal of people caught up in war and how they react and deal with the consequences in different ways. Some fine performances ( Hiam Abbas, Alexander Siddiq, a memorable cameo by Willem Dafoe ) and an excellent soundtrack make this a thoroughly engaging experience. My favorite Schnabel film.
For me it's enough that a filmmaker of this talent went to Israel and made a film that is this beautiful. Anyone who has ever visited knows that despite the political implications of the place just existing there can be an incredible aesthetic experience. I think Schnabel has done something good here, showing the beauty that exists in a place know for such different things.
Not as bad as some paint it to be. It shouldn't be understood as a historic view of the Isaraeli-Palestinian conflict, but as the story of a girl caught in one side of it. That didn't happen and that's why I think it got so many bad reviews. But it does have its share of screenwriting flaws. And it needed at least half an hour more to fully develop its characters and storylines.