Not Without My Daughter
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Though fearful, Betty agreed to go for a two-week visit to Iran with her husband Moody and daughter Mahtob, only to find at the end of the two weeks that her husband was fired from his job in the US, and he has no intention of leaving Iran. Moody's family are primitive village people, very extreme in their views, and Moody, at first to "save face", and then perhaps degenerating into the man he was before being "Americanized", inceasingly controls Betty with force and humiliation, all within the Ayatollah Khomeni's insane and rigorous Islamic state of 1984.
Her struggle to get out of Iran with her daughter is what this film is about (it would have been easy to leave alone), and there are many brave Iranians who risk their lives to help her. The claim that this film is racist is irrational, doesn't take these heroic people into consideration, and is an example of the narrow-minded intolerance shown in this film, a mindset that led to 9/11.
Though made in 1990, this is a very timely film to watch, and relates to the problem of abuse in every culture. I don't understand why it has slipped under the radar screen and is not more widely known. The acting is excellent by the entire cast, and the direction by Brian Gilbert is tight and feels like a top-notch thriller at times, with Jerry Goldsmith's terrific score and Peter Hannan's wonderful cinematography, shot on location in Israel, which is fantastic in the last portion of the film.
Sally Field and Alfred Molina give the performance of their lives, in what is much more than a "woman's film"; this is a film about humanity and extraordinary courage, and should have a much wider audience than it has had.
I believe this is a very true depiction of life for a woman in fundamentalist Muslim cultures, especially a western woman who is not used to submitting to oppressive cultural and marital demands. Wearing a burqa was the least of Betty Mahmoody's troubles - her husband, who initially appeared tolerant and even westernized while he was living in America, changes into a control freak when he returns to Iran with his wife and young daughter. I felt some sympathy for the husband due to the fact he appears initially reluctant to dominate Betty in the way his family and culture expects, but he was either fooling us all along, or he was very weak-minded and completely unfaithful to his vows to love and honor his wife by treating Betty so viciously.
Betty is at first incredulous about her husband's expectations, but when he starts beating her she learns to be docile while planning an escape for her and her daughter. It was amazing to see in the family situations how Iranian women are so indoctrinated by their culture that they too become oppressors, of other women and anyone who is not being Islamic enough.
Fortunately there are other heroes in this story besides Betty - Iranian dissidents who help her plan and execute an escape, at great risk to their own lives.
Eventually, Betty agrees to go on a short trip to Iran with Moody and their young daughter because her husband was able to convince her that no harm would come to them. Keep in mind that this took place during the mid 80's; smack dab in the middle of the Iran-Iraq War and right after the harsh sanctions of the Iran Revolution.
Betty abruptly learns that they're no longer in Kansas when Moody's old-maid spinster-sister orders him to have her put on a chador (this is that very dismal looking cloak that Iranian women are forced to wear against their will because their society is terrified of anything that is remotely sexual.) Moody's sister, Ameh Bozorg, was played by the very talented Mony Rey. I think it was established during the beginning of the movie that Ameh Bozorg was only 58 (or maybe younger?) but she looked like she was 80 if she was a day. She played the miserable, prudish, Persian family matriarch to the letter. It was never established, but I think "Ameh" may have been a title bestowed to Moody's sister out of respect. In Arabic Umpto means paternal aunt and is sometimes used as a term of respect. Although, the Persian Language (Farsi) is very different.
Even though the customs are very different from what Betty is used to
(for example, everyone eats on the floor,) she's determined to try make the best of it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a very good movie, being a Veteran who fought overseas in Iraq and Afghan it could have had some more action with the upheaval of Iran but still was a great movie!Published 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
An underrated and forgotten and loathed and despised classic. Sally Field is perfect. I knew the whole time that she would not leave without her daughter. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Thomas J. Chavez
Love this movie. Definitely one to have in the collection of movies! Packaged with care! Great seller!Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
I've been studying End Times eschatology and have been listening to ex-Muslim extremists who set about to disprove the Bible but in the process came to Messiah, Yahshua (Jesus) and... Read morePublished 21 days ago by Kar
it sucks that I have to pay for most of the movies I want to watchPublished 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
The DVD would not play because of being in a non-USA region format. Besides my DVD player, I tried my computers without success. Read morePublished 28 days ago by William Higgins