Reviewed by Riva Jalipa
I’d been working so hard at position papers and magazine articles that I’d forgotten about the beauty of narratives or how the power of fiction can have just as much force as non-fiction. And so I treated myself to watching a little storytelling, thanks to the nostalgic film based on the book of the same name by Monica Ali, Brick Lane. The title doesn’t suggest much in the way of how the story will unfold itself, except to allude to the recurring metaphor of finding one’s belonging; whether among rice paddies or brick lanes…
It is the story of identities, made to search for because of migration. It is the story of resilience, analogized through the experiences of one family; it asks the question of whether we will ever unpack our bags? And answers it on the realize that we have been home all along.
The sub-plots voice the issues of early marriage, the entitlements of women and the girl-child, the challenges facing Muslims immediately post 9/11. It is through the characters that we experience the pain of quixotic ambition, the sorrow in compensating for inadequacies and all matter of things that lack. It is through them, that we remember and in so doing, appreciate the simple joys and the grander realizations.
Tied beautifully by a soundtrack that elicits nostalgia and a script so poetic it leaves its words on our tongues, Brick Lane is one of those gems you carry away in your pocket. Because when you watch it you are reminded a little bit of where you’ve been and promised a little bit more about where you’re going.
Director: Sarah Gavron
Critics Rating: *****