Rated: PG-13 Reviewed by: Jim Release date: March 25, 2011 Released by: The Weinstein Company
Artistic and filled with humanistic impromptu integrity, a vivid true story about Israeli nationality loses its conviction and emotional power.
Miral features Frieda Pinto, Hiam Abbass and Omar Metwally in what is a journey of intertwined lives for hope, justice, and reconciliation.
From the eponymous character whose name is taken from a rapidly growing red flower, the Israel/Palestinian 1948 war saw the home of her father (Alexander Siddig) fabricated into an orphanage for Palestinian refugees by Mama Hind (Hiam Abbass).
In vital, yet inconclusive storytelling by Rula Jebreal, Miral (born a little over two decades after the great divide) finds herself under Hind's tutelage with the passing of her defiant mother (Al Massri). In her teens (now Pinto of the stellar Slumdog Millionaire) Miral teaches at the camp on the cusp of the Intifada resistance. It doesn't help her relations with Hind and her father that she's fallen a virile guy of the rebel contingent, Hani (Metwally of Rendition and Munich).
Pinto provides a fairly congenial presence in her idealism mitigated by the unrelenting conflict from an oppressed minority. She has good moments with her cast-mates, including Stella Schnabel as a Jewish woman with that she unexpectedly finds amicable. Very brief moments from Willem Dafoe and Vanessa Redgrave help as frame of references while Abbass and Siddig offers a cogent, if customary actorly prowess.
Schnabel, who did so well with the unrefined conflicts in life in pictures like Before Night Falls and, more recently, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, can't weave the intrinsic politics and story into a similarly striking well-observed drama. That doesn't mean his painterly background and determined approach isn't right for the kind of material where starkness and rage linger against unity or independence. He gets creative contributions from his crew, notably lenser Eric Gautier whose efficient hand-held work often provides an intimate touch. One just hoped that the essential aspects of "Miral" weren't as maladroitly and suddenly played out as they are.