Maryam Movie Review

Suburban prejudice surrounding real life circumstance is the basis of this fairly impressive debut by writer/director Ramin Serry. While it may play like an after-school special you might have seen during the 1980s on PBS, the emotional struggles portrayed remain digestible, and often thought-provoking.

Maryam (aka Mary, Mariam Parris) is a bright, high-schooler, living in an Iranian household that's substantial enough monetarily (her father, played by Shaun Toub, is a doctor) that her mother (Shohreh Aghdashloo) doesn't have to work. She goes to school, finally gets to drive the family car, and participates in activities such as the school news club. The flipside of this charmed life is that she is the first generation to grow up in America, and her family still abides by some traditional Iranian rules. She isn't allowed out at night, and her father refuses her phone calls after dark as well, especially from boys.

She's gotten used to most of this strictness by now, but she comes into contact with true culture shock when her cousin Ali (David Ackert) comes to stay with them. Ali's parents are both deceased, and he's working towards a physics degree to take back to Iran. Despite obvious conflict with some of Ali's angst issues surrounding the death of his father, which he blames on his uncle, all attempts are made to make him feel comfortable.

Unaccustomed to such serious, extremist ideas, Mary laughs off certain eccentric responses at first, rolling her eyes when Ali won't shake her hand and cracking jokes about the strange staring at the television because the Shah is in the hospital. But as the hostage crisis in Teheran escalates, Mary's background takes a larger role as she and her family become the victims of local racism.

Set in 1979, Serry intelligently chooses to keep things simple, combining everyday interaction with a minimal amount of stock footage to keep track of what is in the news and how it affects a larger populace. Each scene could play as a mini-film within itself as they each end with a decisive statement, but this also helps the overall build of how the characters are pushed to change their views and needs to the increasingly claustrophobic environment. Unfortunately, some of the important moments get lost in repetition, as each family member endures the same type of negativity.

Though the dialogue often edges on cheesiness, this is redeemed by the performances of the key roles. Thankfully, Mary doesn't try to compete with her peers, even as she straddles fitting in with following familial rules. When the boy she's had a crush on, Jamie (Victor Jory), ends up with the stereotypically cheerleader-esque Jill (Sabine Singh), Mary just backs away. To Jamie's credit, and that of poignant writing, he does attempt to connect with Mary again but is at a loss for words. This lack of emotional ability on the part of an obviously sheltered teen is just one example of what works for Maryam, that living through a difficult time doesn't always provoke heroic, Oscar-leaden speeches.


Comments

Maryam Rating

" OK "

Rating: NR, 2000

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Contrary To Her Song Lyrics, Lana Del Rey Worked Her Way To The Top

Lana Del Rey is no stranger to vicious rumours, but she definitely did not...

Contrary To Her Song Lyrics, Lana Del Rey Worked Her Way To The Top

Weird Al Scores First U.S Number 1 With New Album

The album was released only one week ago and sold 103,000 copies to secure the top...

Weird Al Scores First U.S Number 1 With New Album

Peaches Geldof's Cause of Death Confirmed as Heroin Overdose

The second daughter of musician Bob Geldof, Peaches Geldof was thrust...

Peaches Geldof's Cause of Death Confirmed as Heroin Overdose

Robert Downey Jr.IS Iron Man... But For How Long?

You know who he is. Robert Downey Jr.’s involvement in the Iron Man franchise has been...

Robert Downey Jr.IS Iron Man... But For How Long?

Hercules Extended Trailer

Following his deadly ordeal of being put through the Twelve Labours by his father Zeus and his...

Hercules Trailer

Miley Cyrus Appears in Pharrell's New Video 'Come Get It Bae'

Cyrus also features on the track's vocals, and -perhaps most shockingly of all- resists...

Miley Cyrus Appears in Pharrell's New Video 'Come Get It Bae'
Advertisement

Let Battle Commence: Superhero Studios Fight for Best Opening Weekend

We live in a movie world of superheroes at the moment with franchise...

Let Battle Commence: Superhero Studios Fight for Best Opening Weekend

After The Success of 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes', What's Next?

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has been a huge success both critically...

After The Success of 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes', What's Next?

'Mad Max: Fury Road' - New Stills and Poster Appear From Comic Con [Pictures]

Max Max: Fury Road was one of the most anticipated films at the...

'Mad Max: Fury Road' - New Stills and Poster Appear From Comic Con [Pictures]


More recommendations

Advertisement