Film Review: Caramel

الإثنين 12 تشرين الثاني 2007

Written by: Mohammed Dalabih

Layal (Nadine Lebaki) loves Rabih, but Rabih is married. Nisrine (Yasmine Al-Masri) is getting married soon, but her fiancé does not know that she is no longer a virgin. Jamale (Gisele Aouad) refuses to grow up. Rima (Jouanna Moukarzel) is attracted to girls in an Arab society, Rose (Sihame Haddad) is a charming old lady torn by her search for love and duty towards her crazy older sister Lili (Asiza Semaan) who is collecting pieces of paper on streets thinking they are the lost letters her long lost fiancé sent.

Caramel, a movie written and directed by Nadine Lebaki traces the lives of these women in a beauty saloon and the small neighborhood over a short period of time. Directed with French assistance, it has the feel of a French movie. It speaks about the struggle women face in a conservative society, their broken dreams and their compromises. It is a movie about choices, about human life.

This is a movie talking about a society, but in no way confined to the audience of that society, it is a movie we can all relate to, because daily struggles are part of the lives of every one of us.

What struck me the most was Nadine’s attention to details; She managed to say a lot, without really saying much. The small looks the actors made and the fine subtle movements conveyed the idea, over and over again. The movie is also inherently funny, its humor is so natural, easy and does not feel foreign or labored in anyway. The music, oriental with a tango and jazz influence is quite exceptional, and fits the scenes perfectly.


With the exception of Nadine and Adel Karam, all the leading actors did not have any prior experience in movies, yet some performances were quite exceptional, especially Asiza Samman’s (Lili) and Sihame Haddad’s (Rose). I believe, however, that Yasmine Al-Masri’s (Nisrine) performance could have been better.


Elegantly smooth, beautifully directed, almost perfectly executed, this is a movie that will entertain all the senses a movie can entertain and is a definite “must see.” Many people will be looking forward Nadine’s next movie. I hope she will excel above her current “Caramel.”

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