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.
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Margaret Mitchell's bestselling novel was the most successful period romance novel of all time, a combination of historical detail and soap that drew from family recollections of the war and its aftermath. The novel's popularity allowed the filmmakers to be confident of success, but still, Selznick spent more time and money, and took more risks, than could have been expected. The requisite attention was paid to costumes and sets, of course. More important, the film's visual effects -- especially the burning of Atlanta and the smoking ruins of the Georgia plantations after Sherman's pillage -- are the most effective and memorable that had been attempted at that time.
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The trouble lies in its placement in the evolution of the Hollywood action film. Papillon is a transitional species. At the same time it soars on old-fashioned virtue, it also suffers from modern vice. Its 150-minute running time, false endings, and mind-numbing repetitions make it an early predecessor of the indulgent blockbuster of today.
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The movie begins filming in the UK.