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.
A cataclysmic catastrophe. An estranged family in peril. Indescribable destruction. Thousands of deaths. A mad scientist who predicted it all. One humble hero who saves the day.
Have you seen this film before? Come on – just no, it’s ok. This is a safe space.
Named after the tectonic fault line that runs through most of California – a line that many seismologists believe will cause a massive earthquake in the near future in the West Coast are – San Andreas is unoriginal and downright cheesy, and there’s nothing in Brad Peyton’s production that you haven’t seen before. Written by Carlton Cuse, Hollywood’s latest disaster movie is heavy on the CGI and destruction and light on everything else.
The plot is simple. Devoted LA Fire Department Search & Rescue helicopter pilot, Ray Gaines (Johnson), utilises his various skills to save his daughters after a series of devastating earthquakes, all the while facing divorce from estranged wife, Emma (Gugino). The metaphor here isn’t the most subtle you’ll ever see.
In fairness, there’s a certain pull to the impressive visual effects and the sheer level of destruction, but the heart of the film – a father’s relentless battle to save his children from the grips of an unreasonable mother and her devious boyfriend – is rendered completely uninteresting thanks to the trite interactions between its two-dimensional characters.
The only person who comes out with any sort of standing is the larger-than-life lead. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s career has been peppered with bemusing role choices (see 2010’s Tooth Fairy) but his body of work as an action star continues to gain momentum, with solid turns in the Fast & Furious franchise. Despite the deep-seated faults of San Andreas, Johnson’s natural charisma carries him though relatively unscathed and his role cements his strength as a leading man. It bodes well for his upcoming role as D.C. superhero, Black Adam, in Warner Bros’ Shazam!, scheduled for release in 2019.
Johnson’s future prospects aside, San Andreas typifies the modern Hollywood disaster movie – for better and for worse. The visuals are quite something, but it’s all a bit hollow and there’s little satisfaction in its conclusions.
If you can manage to wrap your head around the ridiculously far-fetched idea behind The Age of Adaline – a story of a woman who mysteriously stops aging at the age of twenty-nine and goes through periods of time as an ageless beauty – then you just might be able to find some joy and pleasure in watching Lee Toland Krieger’s handsomely-made but, seemingly formulaic romantic-fantasy feature.
The Age of Adaline tells the story of Adaline Bowman (Lively); a beautiful young woman born in the year 1908, who leads a pretty simple and uneventful life in San Francisco circa 1930. Life, as she knows it, soon changes, however, when Adaline has a near-death-experience in a terrifying car-accident; an incident which finds her mysteriously frozen in time and unable to age. Her bizarre condition soon becomes somewhat of an issue when, during the 1950’s, she becomes targeted by shady government officials, who are interested in having her head and body examined. With no other option lying before her, Adaline – in order to protect herself and her daughter, Flemming (Burstyn) from any possible harm - soon makes a run for it.
The story then fast-forwards to New Year’s Eve 2014 where we see Adaline living under a false name and her now grown-up daughter is pretending to be her grandmother (yes that happens). Things get complicated when she meets a handsome philanthropist, Ellis Jones (Huisman) who pretty quickly falls head-over-heals for the mysterious beauty. However, Adaline soon receives the shock of her life when she meets his dad, William (Ford) who is certain he knows Adaline from the time spent together in the 60’s.
Written by Salvador Paskowitz and J. Mills Goodloe, love – and the choices we make to either obtain it or run away from it – is the chosen topic of exploration, and while the movie – shot through a soft and whimsical lens - chooses to convey the story through a highly fanciful and bizarre fashion, the concept is still pretty inviting. However, the plot feels forced and you will have to work really hard to look past its mistakes. Luckily, though, the performances were not too damaging and both Lively – a surprising choice for the lead one must say – and Game of Thrones’ Huisman make for a charming and likable pairing while Ford turns in one of his most dramatic performances to date.
Buried somewhere deep underneath all of the ludicrousness and absurdity it chooses to bear on its relatively fragile shoulders, there seems to be a genuinely intriguing and worthwhile story waiting to be told with The Age of Adaline; it’s just unfortunate that it doesn’t seem to know how to tell it. Bizarre? Check. Terribly far-fetched? Check. Terrible? No. It’s acceptable and that’s not a bad way to be.