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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Sabah: A Love Story (review)

It’s not quite My Big Fat Syrian Forbidden Romance, but almost. Sabah (Arsinée Khanjian [The Sweet Hereafter], a regular player in Atom Egoyan’s films) is a traditional Muslim woman living in Canada, a luminous figure whose spark is being snuffed out by familial expectations — as the eldest unmarried daughter, it falls to her to look after her widowed, sickly mother — and her brother’s overbearing, if culturally approved, machismo. But when she meets Stephen (Shawn Doyle, from HBO’s Big Love), a carpenter of no fixed religious inclination, who is as charmed by her as she is by him, much to her surprise, she suddenly finds herself torn between two cultures. Wonderfully, writer/director Ruba Nadda, herself an Arab-Canadian, finds the perfect middle ground that requires denial of neither side of Sabah’s dual identity — she is as much as Canadian as she is Syrian, she insists when some would try to push her in one direction — to shape a splendid tale of love of all kinds that is all the sweeter for being tested and hard won. The minimal extras on the disc include the theatrical trailer and director’s biography and statement. [buy at Amazon]

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
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