Sign in using your account with
Wahed Saheeh: Drama About the Perfect Wife and Unrequited Love
Ridiculously translated into ‘A Whole One’, Wahed Saheeh isn’t a romance as much as it is a film about unrequited love.Abdullah (Salama) is the ultimate playboy. He’s also an arrogant douchebag but he’s charming, rich and successful, so girls fling themselves at him anyway. Wahed Saheeh recounts his relationship with four women; Nadine (Basma), Amira (Alloush), Mariam (Raees) and Farida (Yousef). Each one represents a certain aspect of Abdullah’s version of the ideal woman. Nadine is his best friend and knows him better than anyone, Amira’s the only woman he’s been able to emotionally connect with, Mariam is a stereotypical good girl, and he and Farida have great sex. Things get even more complicated as he comes under pressure from his mother to pick a wife and settle down.
Salama is pretty convincing as a charming womaniser with a huge ego; yet his breakdown near the end of the film just isn’t as believable. One scene in particular comes to mind where Abdullah is overcome due to Amira’s disappearance and is ranting and raving to a very sympathetic Nadine. We’re told that Abdullah’s absolutely distraught yet it’s Nadine that looks like she’s just lost the love of her life.
Basma as Nadine is the film’s undisputed highlight. She’s Abdullah’s best friend who happens to be going through a divorce for reasons she hasn’t made him privy to. She does her best to set Abdullah up with her cousin Mariam, whom he takes a fancy to due to her pure, sweet, feminine demeanour. Through Mariam and Amira’s arcs, the film succeeds in critiquing Egyptian society on two fronts.
Firstly, Abdullah and Mariam signify the double standard in our society, where the woman has to be as pure as the driven snow while the man can sleep around. It’s quite clear that Abdullah never loved Mariam or viewed her as his equal; he’s just been conditioned into believing that he’s entitled to a wife like her.
Secondly, Amira’s arc deals with the problems facing interfaith relationships. As a devout Christian, she deals with this problem on two fronts, once in the capacity of Abdullah’s girlfriend and another as the daughter of a man who converted to Islam to marry a Muslim woman. She wants to be with Abdullah but he doesn’t want to go against her religion or subject her kids to the kind of pain and confusion that her dad put her through.
The weakest link character-wise is Youssef’s Farida. She’s a married society wife/doctor who has commissioned Abdullah to work on a project with her. They begin an affair and suddenly this very assertive woman turns into a grovelling idiot when Abdullah throws one of his tantrums. In an unhappy marriage with a gay man that nonetheless afforded her riches, her arc tries, rather shallowly, to explore the concept of marriage as a business contract and not as a romantic union.
The film’s soft focus quality adds to the film’s overdramatic nature, yet the liberal use of US Top 40 songs is really jarring. The way the many storylines are juggled is pretty impressive. The characters are all connected by Abdullah but we also get to know about their lives away from him. And while the extensive use of voiceover manages to cram in a lot more about the characters than would normally be feasible, they still come across as rather shallow and their storylines occasionally become stereotypically melodramatic.
Delivering more than its fair share of scares, the follow-up to director James Wan’s 2013 hit horror-film, The Conjuring, continues its almost-flawless cinematic realisation with a aesthetically pleasing, atmospherically fitting and particularly creepy sequel.
Set in 1976, The Conjuring 2 is once again centred on paranormal investigators Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine (Farmiga) Warren who are living at the height of their infamy following their involvement in the highly controversial ‘Amityville Horror’ case. After encountering a horrifying demon during one of their sessions at the old Lutz home, the couple decides that it’s time to give their profession a little rest.
Meanwhile, in Enfield, U.K, Peggy Hodgson (O’Connor) and her four children are being terrorised by a mysterious and malevolent demonic presence that has developed a keen interest in her youngest daughter, Janet (the wonderful Ms. Wolfe). Enlisted by the Catholic Church to fly over and investigate the case - which at this point has been dubbed as ‘England’s Amityville’ - Ed and Lorraine find themselves against an unknown evil entity whose power is yet to be tested.
The Conjuring 2 proves to be yet another chilling and skilfully-executed horror tale from Saw director James Wan, who has allegedly turned down the opportunity to direct Fast 8 for an ‘life-altering’ amount of money, in order to continue his work here – and horror fans will be glad he did.
The biggest cliché in Hollywood is that no sequel can ever top its predecessor; but in this particular case, The Conjuring 2 bucks the trend. Expanding on the old in order to bring in the new, everything about the story feels tighter and more focused. The lingering, creepy mood is just right and the camera work in particular is remarkable, with Wan’s admiration of 70’s and 80’s horror movies evident throughout.
Wilson and Farmiga are strong in their respective roles and while Farmiga is given a little bit more to do this time around, they are both equally deserving of plaudits. Their onscreen chemistry is easy and palpable, which serves the story well, while thirteen year-old British-born actress, Madison Wolfe, is absolutely outstanding as the possessed young child whose identity is slowly being swallowed up by something from within.
Overall, The Conjuring 2 is a successfully frightening follow-up which will keep fans, and newcomers, happy and satisfied. While there are moments of predictability to be found, the story’s two-hour-plus running time never, ever feels like a chore.
There’s no real reason why Hollywood hasn’t totally embraced Jake Gyllenhaal; but it just hasn’t. While he may not fit the mould of the empirical Hollywood hunk, he has proven in the last five years that he can carry a movie and carry it will – which is the case in boxing drama, Southpaw.
A traditional story of redemption through and through, the Antoine Fuqua-directed film falls into the same pitfalls that the majority of sports films fall into, but it’s the performance of Gyllenhaal and Fuqua’s ability to put together memorable scenes that give Southpaw its worth.
The story tells of world champion boxer, Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal), and his struggle to cope with the death of his wife Maureen (McAdams) during a brawl with a prospective – and of course cocky and arrogant –challenger. An injury that threatens his ability to see, a quick descent into guilt-ridden alcoholism, growing debt and the loss of his daughter to child protection services are just a few of the things that drive Hope to taking a job at a gym, where he meets Titus ‘Tick’ Wills (Whitaker), who helps Billy get on the track to recovery.
There are plenty of clichés flying about in Southpaw, but there are moments that will send a little shiver down your spine and linger long after the credits roll – and it’s largely owed to Mr Gyllenhaal. He’s intense, he’s committed and he’s utterly convincing as a man trying to get his life back on track after a horrific incident that he comes to blame himself for. At times, the plot feels formulaic – and it is, almost verging on predictable – but it’s a formula that is executed well; Fuqua, like he did with Training Day, has a knack of infusing single scenes with a huge amount of emotion, passion and intensity.
This is not Rocky – it’s grim, it’s grey and it doesn’t necessarily glamorise boxing and the spectacle that surrounds it. This is not a film that will win awards or be talked about in twenty years as a classic, but it certainly is an emotional ride.