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Seyyed Bozorg Mahmoody,
"Moody" is an Iranian doctor living in America with his American wife Betty and their child Mahtob. Wanting to see his homeland again, he convinces his wife to take a short holiday there with him and Mahtob. Betty is reluctant, as Iran is not a pleasant place, especially if you are American and female. Upon arrival in Iran, it appears that her worst fears are realized: Moody declares that they will be living there from now on. Betty is determined to escape from Iran, but taking her daughter with her presents a larger problem.Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
Betty tells the woman at the Swiss Embassy she doesn't know why she came to Iran. Betty knew full well why she came. She had said she was afraid if she didn't go Moody would kidnap Mahtob and take her with him. See more »
A hamfisted plot, lame lines and unbelievable characterization all conspire to sink this ridiculous movie.
I'm not Iranian, but even I had a sneaking suspicion that Not Without My Daughter wasn't exactly cinema verite. The filmmakers don't portray Iran in a very positive light, to say the least, and this unflinchingly negative depiction just gets way too extreme. In other words, I can believe the basic premise - a woman escaping her abusive husband in a repressive country - but I certainly can't believe it as it's handled in Not Without My Daughter. The movie is simply too illogical to resonate emotionally. Moody's abrupt reversals, Mahtob's strategically placed pleas, Betty's American friend who's also in a heinous marriage... it's all too much, and too cheesy. Not to mention the completely over-the-top depictions of Moody's family. It's like "My Big Fat Iranian Family."
Speaking of over-the-top, Sally Field *does* try her best, but she is ultimately betrayed by a heinously manipulative script. Alfred Molina does what he can with a cardboard character, but he gets even less to work with than Field. Nobody's motivations make any sense! Why would Betty marry Moody, only to condemn his culture as "primitive and backwards" later on in the movie? How stupid is she? How does Moody transform from a slightly grumpy doctor into a wifebeating maniac? How does Mahtob stay so placid through all of these traumatic events? Etc., etc.
The funny thing is, although this movie is infuriatingly stupid, I find myself glued to it every time it comes on television. This is mainly thanks to Molina's charisma (even at his most abusive, he brings a certain spark to his character), as well as the general "train wreck" quality of this movie. File it under "guilty pleasure" -- at best.
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