Heaven on Earth (2008)
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A young Indian woman becomes a victim of domestic violence in an abusive arranged marriage.
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Critic Reviews for Heaven on Earth
A less assured filmmaker would have trouble reconciling reality with magic realism, but writer/director Mehta turns kitchen-sink drama into soaring metaphor.
At best, magic realism is an intoxicating blend of the sweet and the bitter; in Heaven on Earth, it's a head-on collision with no survivors.
Chipping away at the Indian institution of arranged marriage one feature at a time, Deepa Mehta brings her latest taboo-challenging critique home to Canada with Heaven on Earth.
The Indian-born writer-director moves into the realm of the imagination and magic realism to concoct a strong artistic statement about the powers of the mind.
I can sense the profound ambition that inspired Deepa Mehta to craft her drama Heaven on Earth. But her uneven film turns out to be deeply troubling.
Audience Reviews for Heaven on Earth
In this ironically titled kitchen-sink drama, Deepa Mehta tries to uncover the plight of a Punjabi girl, Chand, who gets married abroad to an abusive husband and his unsympathetic family. Her new mother-in-law senses competition for her son's heart, wedging herself between the newly wed couple. While Chand makes desperate attempts to make her marriage work, her world alternately shifts between reality and fantasy, drawing comparisons to some old Indian folklore tales.
Whatever her intensions were, Deepa Mehta's critical look at domestic-abuse often looses the plot because of its tiresome and manipulative nature. Never is explained why a seemingly normal 21st century family cant welcome a bride into their home with some minimal compassion. Overall, it turned out to be just a deeply troubling viewing experience with out any real purpose or conclusion.
The only reason I'm giving the movie a higher rating is the performance from its lead, Preity Zinta, who turned out to be a real class act. Without her solely carrying the movie on her shoulders, this movie would've turned into a total disaster. Zinta delivers the kind of performance that would've served her better justice in a better movie with a more promising premise.
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