Just Like A Woman (2013)
Mona, 26, an immigrant from North Africa, runs her in-laws' mini market in Chicago. She's married to Mourad, a man who can't stand up to his authoritarian mother. Mona is harassed by her mother-in-law because after five years of marriage, she hasn't be able to get pregnant, something that's considered a shame and a taboo in her culture. Marilyn, 29, is a receptionist at a computer repair company. Her marriage with Harvey is on the ropes. The only thing in her life that makes her happy is her belly dance class, a passion shared by Mona. Dancing at family gatherings lifts her spirits up and makes her forget the misery of her daily life. Marilyn shops at Mona's mini-market. They've become friends. One morning, Mona's mother-in-law is found dead in her bed. Mona realizes that she mixed the wrong dose while preparing her medicine. Realizing that she might be accused of murder, Mona runs away and flees Chicago by bus. Marilyn loses her job because of the recession. When she gets home, she finds out that her husband is cheating on her. With nothing left to lose, Mona decides to go to Santa Fe to enter a contest hoping to join a famous belly dance company. Mona and Marilyn run into each other on a rest area on the side of a highway. They decide to continue the trip together. They cross the USA, pitching their tent in trailer parks and in the middle of the desert. They earn some cash belly-dancing together in restaurants and bars. Back in Chicago, Mona is considered a fugitive she's wanted for the murder of her mother-in-law. Harvey asks the police to look for Marilyn who disappeared without leaving a trace. Will Marilyn succeed in joining the belly dance company? How long will Mona be able to keep her secret from Marilyn? And how long will she be able to escape the law? … More
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Critic Reviews for Just Like A Woman
Like belly-dancing itself, this drama is meant for the soul, not the mind - or as Marilyn's instructor commands, "Brains! Stop using them!"
The problem with the film, directed by France's Rachid Bouchareb from a script by Joelle Touma and Marion Doussot, is that the men are mostly one-dimensional louts.
This well-intentioned buddy-road-trip flick lacks the danger, the drama and the sex appeal that most moviegoers will be looking for.
Just like its meaningless title, Rachid Bouchareb's disappointing drama evokes better works without developing any distinct identity of its own.
Bouchareb fails to turn his outsider's point of view into new insights, and instead takes the easy route, falling back on familiar stereotypes in his tour of US misogyny and xenophobia.
It's a shame Ms. Miller has to try so hard, to grimace so much, to add emotional embellishment to compensate for a weak script.
Although branded throughout by a heavily mournful identification with these terribly wronged women's plights, the film is nevertheless silly in the extreme.
Not enough happens on this empowerment road trip to fill even a sub-90-minute running time, and the climax resorts to trite, unearned melodrama.
While one can sympathize with the subjects Bouchareb is exploring here, his picture strives for a great deal more than it actually delivers.
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