Zaytoun Reviews

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Louis Proyect
February 8, 2014
Despite its "The Defiant Ones" liberal Zionist pieties, there's solid drama and performances.
Jared Eisenstat
Film Comment Magazine
November 4, 2013
Zaytoun is relatively successful in tiptoeing through the political minefield of the subject matter, and it offers out the promise of hope and possibility without raising expectations.
Top Critic
Tom Russo
Boston Globe
October 24, 2013
We've ... got to admit right up front: Part of our interest was simply to see what Stephen Dorff is doing playing an Israeli POW.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
October 24, 2013
It's a powerful drama that works on a couple of levels.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Nora Lee Mandel
October 11, 2013
Visually operatic street scenes, panoply of characters, Dorff brusque to paternal, talented ensemble of Palestinian/Israeli-Arab actors [make] this crossing worth traveling.
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
October 4, 2013
The resolution is a bit Hollywood, but then who says all films about the Middle East have to be relentlessly grim? "Zaytoun" dares to find common ground and hope amidst political confusion.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
John Anderson
October 3, 2013
A trek that is occasionally very unlikely, but moving nonetheless.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
John Anderson
September 23, 2013
Given how much Zaytoun follows the playbook, the pic's portentous ending is extraordinarily subtle, and will resonate best with those who know the history of the region.
Top Critic
Stephen Dalton
Hollywood Reporter
September 23, 2013
The film's facile message of cross-cultural unity owes more to fairy tale than reality, but the action is slick and the story gripping.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice
September 12, 2013
The spiritual journey of a Palestinian teenager from a refugee camp in Beirut in 1982 and an Israeli pilot captured by the PLO.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Harvey S. Karten
September 4, 2013
An appealing road-and-buddy movie that could stand as an allegory of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Neil Smith
Total Film
January 11, 2013
Eran Riklis' road movie - its title means 'olive' - neatly juxtaposes the beauty of the landscape with the enmities it engenders, locating an optimism in the central relationship that subsequent history ... would cruelly dash.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Derek Malcolm
This is London
January 4, 2013
By suggesting, perhaps too hopefully, that even the most deeply held prejudices can be broken by individual decency, the story has its heart in the right place and is acted with total sincerity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Henry Fitzherbert
Daily Express
December 28, 2012
The storytelling may cleave a little too closely to Hollywood formula but the beautiful location work and performances add immeasurably to the authenticity.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Brian Pendreigh
Radio Times
December 27, 2012
El Akal delivers a winning wide-eyed performance as Fahed that more than compensates for [its] shortcomings.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
David Jenkins
Little White Lies
December 26, 2012
Politically a little watered-down, but the performances are strong enough to make it linger in the memory.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Brian Orndorf
October 24, 2013
The movie means well enough, yet Zaytoun doesn't do enough to upset expectations, trusting in the power of warm orchestral strings and softening demeanors to coax the viewer into a deceptive comfort zone.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
October 17, 2013
It's probably best viewed as a fable that tries to strike a hopeful note amid the many woes of the Middle East, but the blunt filmmaking and the near-sentimentality make it hard to buy into.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Todd Jorgenson
September 30, 2013
... never strikes the right balance of comedy and melodrama, and winds up trivializing the plight of his characters in the process.
Rich Cline
Shadows on the Wall
September 27, 2013
Lively characters and a series of offbeat events make this movie watchable, except that we never believe anything that happens.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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