Raja (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Raja (2004)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Directed and written by Jacques Doillon, Raja centers around a bored, middle-aged Frenchman, Fred (Pascal Greggory), and his decision to employ a small group of women to care for his garden. Before long, Fred becomes enamored with 19-year-old Raja (Najat Benssallem), one of his employees. Despite her innocent appearance, Raja is physically and emotionally scarred -- an Arab orphan, she was repeatedly raped and forced into prostitution at a young age. Fred becomes determined to seduce Raja, but the language barrier is a serious problem and Raja is confused by many of Fred's efforts. Though Fred's interest had began as little more than a game, he eventually finds himself in the midst of a dangerous obsession.
Art House & International , Drama
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Hassan Khissal
as Youssef
Zineb Ouchita
as Cook No. 2
Aicha Aarif
as Gardener No. 1
Hajiba Firma
as Gardener No. 2
Jmiaa Aarif
as Gardener No. 3
Hanane Ben Jaddi
as Girl in Bar No. 1
Samra Ben Arafa
as Girl in Bar No. 2
Samira El Othmani
as Girl in Bar No. 3
Abdelilah Lamrani
as Raja's Brother
Rachida Boukhima
as Raja's Sister
Zineb Khoulaki
as Raja's Sister-in-Law
Fatima Zorha
as Girl from Douar
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Critic Reviews for Raja

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (5)

An unsettling look at Third World politics in the guise of a love story.

April 1, 2004
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

Extremely well acted, though the direction by Jacques Doillon is on the leisurely side.

March 26, 2004
New York Post
Top Critic

There's little to enjoy in this unsettling tale, but Doillan's unblinking depiction of manipulation and desperation stays with you long after the characters make the deals that seal their unjust fates.

Full Review… | March 26, 2004
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Masterful tale of frustrated desire.

November 19, 2003
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

What distinguishes Raja from every other movie to contemplate the treacherous intersection of passion, avarice and power is its unsettling emotional honesty.

Full Review… | October 16, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

refreshing with its brutal and emotionally raw honesty

Full Review… | February 25, 2005
Old School Reviews

Audience Reviews for Raja


A Moroccan girl living in Marrakesh enters into a common agreement to clean the home of a Frenchman. She will be paid a year's wages for seven days of maid service that includes much more than fluffing the pillows. However, each is reluctant to consummate the arrangement just as sexual sparks begin to fly, because both sense a much deeper connection between them. As they begin to sort out their feelings, they seem unable to assure the other (and themselves) of doubts about the other's motives. Is he simply using her, or is she actually the one trying to take advantage of him? Just as one is assured, doubt rises in the other. She doubts him when he wants to marry her, but then is dismayed when she is betrothed to another. Amazing, constant tension weave through the film, as they maddeningly attempt to sort out their true motives and understand their love for one another. Psychological thriller, no romance here.

Ryan Mahon
Ryan Mahon

Well-acted.... the writing left much to be desired though. There were so many occasions where I was just banging my head against a wall wondering why these two main characters are so completely inept at communicating. I mean, why couldn't they pick up on the fact that almost everyone translating for them was full of shit? I think the language barrier could have been treated much differently by the director. The ending was not at all as I had expected, but I give it credit for going against the grain.

Lisa Kretschman
Lisa Kretschman

An interesting story plot. Good movie.

Leo L
Leo L

Super Reviewer

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