Mary Poppins Returns
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
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All Critics (10)
| Top Critics (4)
| Fresh (8)
| Rotten (2)
Masharawi's film is a vivid passenger-seat tour of a society perpetually crashing into madness.
Rashid Masharawi's film is a fleet, dark urban comedy that registers outrage in glancing jabs of absurdist observation.
Laila's Birthday is beautifully shot and overlaid with a spare, lyrical score that lends rueful emphasis to Masharawi's exasperated fidelity to a chronically malfunctioning city.
It's a portrait in frustration and exasperation yet the tone is always affectionate, a satire that confronts serious concerns with a gentle touch...
...a promising yet unfulfilling endeavor...
One miserable day for a Palestinian man. The big surprise is that the annoyances come from his fellow Ramallah residents, not from the Israeli occupiers.
Funny, refreshingly witty and offbeat with a delicate balance between comedy and drama.
The film's comic tone and biting dialogue tempers the awareness that these vignettes symbolize deeper and more dangerous issues.
It's only the start of Abu Laila's long, long day in Laila's Birthday (Eid milad Laila), and already, he's impatient.
A heartwarming, hard-hitting slice of life that flirts with the absurdity of life in wartime. Very Kafka, full of bleak humour and featuring a protagonist you can't help but root for. Beautiful film that more people should see.
This film depicts a day in the life of a Palestinian judge-turned-cab-driver.
I'm torn about Laila's Birthday. On the one hand, I think it's essentially a political film, and the film rarely rises above its political point to become about real people; oftentimes political points are best made when they're subtly worked in to the action. That said, I must note that I am entirely sympathetic to the film's politics; there's no issue more clear-cut in my view than how brutal and debilitating the violence inflicted on the Palestinians by their occupiers is. On the other hand, the film avoids demonization of Israel. In fact, most of the inconveniences Abu Laila faces are caused by his countrymen. This is a mature approach that avoids easy polemical binaries. So, its weakness - its overt politics - is related to its strength - its unique approach at politics.
For many Americans, who may not be familiar with everyday life in Palestine, this is a very good film to watch. It shows how Palestinians' existence is limited but not defined by colonization and certainly works against the myths that all Arabs in the region are gun-toting terrorists.
Overall, I think a less constrained, more revealing performance by Mohammad Bakri and a greater focus on Abu Laila would have made the film less overtly political and subsequently stronger.
Sometimes the most effective way to tell a story is let the audience come close to getting first-hand experience. Laila's Birthday gives us a glimpse of what life looks like for Abu Laila, a Palestinian judge who is trying to make a living driving a taxi. This film offers a powerful meditation of life in the most volatile part of the world. Laila's Birthday is gentle, real and poignant. Great ending.
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