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Miral (2011)

tomatometer

14

Average Rating: 4.5/10
Critic Reviews: 21
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 18

No consensus yet.

audience

54

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 5,340

My Rating

Movie Info

From Julian Schnabel, Academy Award (C) nominated director of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Before Night Falls and Basquiat, comes Miral, the story of four women whose lives intertwine in the starkly human search for justice, hope and reconciliation amid a world overshadowed by conflict, rage and war. The story begins in war-torn Jerusalem in 1948 when Hind Husseini (HIAM ABBASS, The Visitor, Amreeka) opens an orphanage for refugee children that quickly becomes home to 2000 orphans. One of

PG-13,

Art House & International, Drama

Jul 12, 2011

$0.4M

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All Critics (63) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (52) | DVD (6)

The director injects some showy images into the mix but, without a defined frame for Schnabel to paint in, "Miral" is an unholy mess.

April 15, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What "Miral" lacks in performance art, Schnabel attempts to replace with design.

April 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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Miral has the pedigree, the attitude, the weighty subject matter. It's just not much of a movie.

April 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
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How can you appeal to both sides when you tell only one side's story?

April 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Comments (5)
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Miral's" agenda doesn't play to Schnabel's strengths. His best work on film is bold-stroke portraiture, evoking complicated personalities and emotions with dynamic, dreamlike imagery.

March 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a miniseries awkwardly stuffed in the body of a two-hour drama about the Palestinians' long struggle against the Israelis.

March 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is what happens when a self-serious movie artist tries to impress his girlfriend.

January 13, 2013 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Miral overrides its screenwriting flaws with Schnabel's uncanny sense of film art.

January 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

...sporadically engrossing yet thoroughly uneven...

July 12, 2011 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Schnabel dedicates Miral to "everyone on both sides who still believes peace is possible"-a noble sentiment, to be sure, but will anyone on either side really see themselves reflected in such a simplistic, ham-fisted treatment?

May 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Though it self-evidently has a Message about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, [it] makes virtually no effort to clearly explain what that Message is.

April 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

[T]here are plenty of nonpolitical reasons to frown upon Miral: it's simply not a very engaging film, even to those sympathetic to the Palestinian cause...

April 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

Might have been better as a documentary.

April 22, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

...if you're going to ask the audience to piece together the meaning of a scene for themselves, don't cue the conclusion with a soundtrack full of familiar emotional cues.

April 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Playback:stl
Playback:stl

Impassioned, but also dramatically disjointed and emotionally parched.

April 14, 2011 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

Schnabel is free to make a film sympathetic to the Palestinians, of course, but such distortions and selective history make this little more than an arty propaganda film.

April 8, 2011 Full Review Source: The Jewish Advocate
The Jewish Advocate

It feels strangely undernourished, as if the filmmakers were afraid to really let go and express big emotions.

April 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

The didactic approach and hodge-podge structure diminish the film's heart and Schnabel's dreamy imagery.

April 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

The film is an uninvolving mess, though a thoughtfully composed jumble of emotions and time periods ambitiously reaching for a distressing screen poeticism it never achieves.

April 7, 2011 Full Review Source: BrianOrndorf.com
BrianOrndorf.com

"Miral" gives no real evidence to support why this particular story deserves screen time.

April 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News | Comment (1)
Philadelphia Daily News

Like its star, it's pretty, but that's about it.

April 1, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Audience Reviews for Miral

This movie is a portrayal of what occurred to the Palestinians. I enjoyed the movie and it brought tears to my eyes.. The actors performed a moving performance that pulled on my heart strings. A film made to show what the Palestinians have had to face and still face on a daily basis. Some people may say that this movie is Pro-Palestinian that is for you to decided. Excellent film that didn't get much play in the US. 5 Stars 8-16-12
September 20, 2012
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Reading the various negative reviews of Miral is laughable. I very much doubt that any of the critics have actually read Rula Jebreal's heartbreaking novel on which the film is based. I have actually read her novel, the true story of her life in the Dar El-Tifel orphanage and the film captures her words perfectly. Like any adaptation, there are parts missing but the key moments are there and are glorious - If there is one thing Julian Schnabel has proved, it's that he has the utmost respect for every adaptation he has directed. I would suggest that the critics have more problems with the political viewpoints than the film itself but that just shows their ignorance. Hind al-Husseini was a remarkable person and it is great to see her recognised here for the good she has done, it would be great to see a film dedicated to telling her story in detail. Julian Schnabel still doesn't seem to be getting the credit he deserves, maybe I'm a little bit biased because he made a film about my favourite artists and adapted my favourite book but then again, wouldn't that make me more critical of his work? Miral is a great film, it is not a 'muddled melodrama' like the American press would have you believe, it is an important insight into the lives of the orphans of the Deir Yassin massacre and the unrest there ever since and should be seen. Julian Schnabel has got this one just right, if he hadn't I very much doubt his girlfriend RULA JEBREAL!! would have let him direct/release it.
June 1, 2011
SirPant

Super Reviewer

"Miral," the new film from writer-director Julian Schnabel, is more a work of politics than a work of art, and it's not that interesting even as a work of politics. It presents a very basic pro-Palestinian point of view that skirts all the really tough issues that make the Israeli/Palestinian struggle so intractable. I'm not sure what value there is in over-simplifying Middle Eastern politics and making what is essentially a TV movie based on these matters.


"Miral" is put together reasonably well. Schnabel (whose previous films were "Before Night Falls" and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly") appears to have decided early on to create a very simple movie, and he maintains careful focus on delivering that objective. Freida Pinto ("Slumdog Millionaire") does an adequate job playing the eponymous lead character, who grows up mostly in an orphanage and gets involved in the "intifada" movement in the late 1980s. This of course puts her on a collision course with the Israeli Police.


An example of the film's laughable over-simplifications concerns the 1967 Six-Day War. The war, first of all, is never explained, but the aftermath is discussed. The Israeli "occupation" of the West Bank that followed the war is presented as simple aggression on the part of Israel. There is no mention of the endless violence waged on Israel from that territory in the years leading up to the war or the use of that area as a staging ground for an invasion of Israel. I'm no pro-Israel zealot, but let's at least be fair when critiquing their military actions. Characterizing Israel as a pure aggressor is ridiculous. It's as ridiculous as believing the Palestinians are all terrorists.


As a work of art, "Miral" is a huge disappointment. As a work of politics, it is also a letdown. But it does work as a simple drama, and there are moments of genuine emotion. Surprisingly, the most interesting passages concern the personal ordeals suffered by Miral's mother, who killed herself when Miral was a young girl. I suspect that Schnabel the artist was drawn more to the mother's story. But Schnabel the (mediocre) politician unfortunately took the dominant role for this project.


With all the film's ordinariness, there still is something inspiring about a Jewish filmmaker trying to look at things from a pro-Palestinian perspective. Imagine a movie made in the 1980s by a white filmmaker in South Africa championing the black movement there. Even if the film were mediocre, one would be moved. In that sense there is something special about "Miral."
April 17, 2011
Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

"Miral" starts with Bertha(Vanessa Redgrave) introducing Hind Husseini(Hiam Abbass) to Edward Smith(Willem Dafoe) at the American Colony Hotel in Palestine in 1947. That introduction comes in handy decades later with Edward, now a colonel in the United States Army, being able to navigate Israeli roadblocks for Hind who now runs an orphanage. Meanwhile, Nadia(Yasmine Al Massri) looks elsewhere for shelter to escape the abuse she suffers at home and ends up in a seedy strip club before getting six months for headbutting a woman on a bus. In jail, she shares a cell with Fatima(Ruba Blal), a terrorist, who intrudoces her to her brother(Alexander Siddig) who Nadia marries on her release. And that's how Miral(Freida Pinto) enters the story...

As a director, Julian Schnabel has a way of utilizing his skills as an artist to give his films a unique beauty. At the same time, he has a way of getting tripped up by politics and that could not be any truer than with "Miral." Either, he ignores them altogether when he intercuts a bombing with Polanski's "Repulsion" which is getting a little cutesy for my tastes. Or else Schnabel is as subtle as having a boulder dropped on your head. And I say that, even though I am on his side when it comes to the subject of Palestinian independence. Nor does it help in going over the familiar terrain of 40 years of history that he cannot decide who the movie should be about, Hind or Miral, as neither have much in common with each other, outside of their nationality. One place where Schnabel succeeds is in his insight that there is a difference in the attitudes of generations of Palestinians. Whereas the earlier generation may have been more accommodating, the younger generation is more willing to fight, resulting in the First Infitada.
June 23, 2012
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

    1. Child of Deir Yassin: They killed my mother and father, nobody is left.
    – Submitted by Mahfuz M (17 months ago)
    1. Miral: Don't mention my father.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Hind Husseini: This school is the difference between you and the children in the refugee camp.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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