- 1 hr 52 min
"Miral" is a powerful and poignant drama directed by Julian Schnabel, set in the decades-long conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The story is told through the eyes of a young woman named Miral, played by Freida Pinto, as she tries to find her place in a world filled with violence and oppression. The film is based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by Rula Jebreal, who co-wrote the screenplay with Schnabel. The novel is loosely based on Jebreal's own experiences growing up in a Palestinian orphanage.
The film begins in 1948, the year of Israel's founding, as we see footage of the mass exodus of Palestinians from their homes as they are driven out by Israeli forces. From there, we jump forward to the 1970s, when Miral is a young girl living in the Dar Al-Tifel orphanage in East Jerusalem.
Miral is initially portrayed as a bright and optimistic young girl, eager to learn and explore her world. However, as she grows older, she becomes increasingly disillusioned by the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and begins to question the teachings of her benefactor and mentor, Hind Husseini, played by Hiam Abbass.
As she navigates the complexities of life in the West Bank, Miral finds herself drawn into the resistance movement, led by the charismatic young freedom fighter Hani, played by Omar Metwally. Their relationship becomes a central part of the story, as it highlights the tensions between those who see violence as the only way to enact change, and those who believe in non-violent resistance.
Throughout the film, we see the effects of the conflict on both Israelis and Palestinians, from the political leaders who espouse hardline positions to the ordinary people who struggle to survive in a world torn apart by violence and hatred.
One of the film's strongest points is its depiction of the ways in which violence and trauma are perpetuated across generations. Miral's experiences in the orphanage, her relationships with her peers, and the events of her young adulthood all shape her worldview and her choices. Similarly, we see the impact of the conflict on other characters, such as Hind Husseini, who has dedicated her life to caring for orphaned Palestinian girls.
The film also explores the role of women in the conflict, highlighting the ways in which they are often sidelined and ignored in the struggle for peace. As portrayed by Abbass, Husseini is a complex and multifaceted character, torn between her desire to create a safe haven for Palestinian girls and her frustration with the patriarchal structures that limit her agency.
In terms of performances, Freida Pinto is a standout as Miral, bringing a nuanced and empathetic portrayal to the character. Hiam Abbass is also excellent, conveying a mix of warmth and steely determination as Husseini. Willem Dafoe has a small but memorable role as an American journalist who becomes involved in Miral's story.
Overall, "Miral" is a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant film that explores the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with sensitivity and nuance. It is a timely reminder of the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in the region, and of the ways in which individual stories can shed light on broader historical and political struggles.
Miral is a 2011 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 52 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.2 and a MetaScore of 45.