Miral Miral , Julian Schnabel's hot-button Middle East drama, is a film of ripe contradictions, not all of them intentional. At once open-eyed and myopic, skillful… Miral Miral , Julian Schnabel's hot-button Middle East drama, is a film of ripe contradictions, not all of them intentional. At once open-eyed and myopic, skillful… PG-13 R PT112M Willem Dafoe Freida Pinto Hiam Abbass The Weinstein Company
Movie Review

Miral

MPAA Rating: PG-13, R
Freida Pinto, Miral | PALESTINIAN GIRL Freida Pinto stars in Julian Schnabel's Miral
Image credit: Jose Haro
PALESTINIAN GIRL Freida Pinto stars in Julian Schnabel's Miral
EW's GRADE
B-

Details Rateds: PG-13, R; Length: 112 Minutes; With: Willem Dafoe and Freida Pinto; Distributor: The Weinstein Company

Miral, Julian Schnabel's hot-button Middle East drama, is a film of ripe contradictions, not all of them intentional. At once open-eyed and myopic, skillful and meandering, it tells the story of Israel from the viewpoint of the Palestinians, which is a perfectly valid thing to do. Yet Schnabel piles on so many anecdotes of victimization that the movie often seems to unfold in a twilight zone between ''apolitical'' humanity and arty propaganda.

The central character, Miral (Freida Pinto, from Slumdog Millionaire), is born in 1973, but the film flashes back to the touchstones of Israeli history — the founding, the 1967 war — which are staged as a catalog of abuse against Palestinians. From there we leap forward to Miral's radicalization by the intifada in 1987. She's torn between her conservative father (Alexander Siddig) and a sexy rebel leader (Omar Metwally) — a rote situation that gathers a modicum of drama through the film's unabashed embrace of Palestinian fury. But then the radical leader suddenly embraces moderation…as does the movie. Confused? So is Miral, a film that makes bits and pieces of the Palestinian experience come alive without assembling them into a coherent vision. B–

Originally posted Mar 23, 2011 Published in issue #1148 Apr 01, 2011 Order article reprints