Saturday, 30 October 2010


I am not your normal film reviewer - but for this little work of wonder I shall make a small exception. 

Made in April this year, this film was written by David Baddiel and stars the world-class Omid Djalili. It is a story of a lapsed/relaxed Muslim father in a houshold of the not-so-lapsed. The story is set a little while after the main character, played by Djalili - Mahmud Nazir - has lost his mother, and during the clear-out of her possessions discovers that he was not just adopted, but born as a Jew by the name of Sonny Shimshillewitz. The plot then revolves around two things - the planned marriage of Mahmud's son to the beautiful and very devout Uzma, step-daughter of a Taliban cleric, and also around the relationship between Nazir and an American Jew - all with the backdrop of a proud Muslim trying to become a Jew in order to see his last surviving birth-parent. 
The film challenges many of the prejudices that exist between the two faiths, in a very gentle way. It does not shirk some of the graver aspects of the collisions of Islamophobia and Antisemitism, but rather parodies them in a very light-hearted way. Omid Djalili is the perfect casting for the role, as it suits his own comedy style very well. Matt Lucas [Little Britain] also stars as a Rabbi, a role he expedites very convincingly. The twists and turns of this laugh-out-loud film are brought to conclusion and greater understanding when the key players resort to their sacred texts - a fact that is not overstated and only really dawns on the viewer some time after the film finishes. 

Made with a budget of around a million quid, it has been sold around many countries, many Muslim - though not as yet Israel (one of the portrayed debates revolves around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) - and has not as yet caused upset. The narriative is deep and is a very useful look at the life of world faiths trying to love in the same small place - and whilst it doesn't involve Christianity, is a film that teaches us lots about our own faith and how we may be percieved if placed in the drama as it unfolded. 

I heartily recommend this film as a serious-but-not-heavy couple of hours well spent - you will laugh and cry, of that you can be sure.

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