Brick Lane

Release Date: June 20, 2008
Limited release

Movie of the Day for Monday, May 26, 2008
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She's miserably unhappy, but like all women, she keeps her rage within.

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Nazneen is a Bangladeshi girl who is forced to move from India when she is 18. Her parents have arranged a marriage between her and Chanu, a Bengali living in London, England. Sure, he’s twice her age and has “a face like a frog”, but this wedding will ostensibly allow her to live in a safer place. With this matter settled, the girl is advised to accept her fate. Her mother even offers this pearl of wisdom about the untenable situation: “If God wanted us to ask questions, he would have made us men.” Lovely.

When Nanzeen arrives in London, she is introduced to her new community, Brick Lane, and its denizens. This subculture is largely Indian, but English behavior is splashed in as well. Nanzeen does not even recognize a lot what she was raised to be in those she meets. Undeterred, she resolves that she can make the best of a loveless marriage and new surroundings. Over the next decade, she goes about willing those around her to adjust to her rather than vice versa. The end result is not wholly positive, but she makes a life for herself in London. And everything is going fine right until she meets Karim, the Muslim political activist who is dangerous…and oh so much more attractive than Chanu. What follows next is a tale of love, confusion, independence, and acceptance.

Controversy seems to follow Brick Lane wherever it goes. The Monica Ali novel, while insanely popular, has been the recipient of more than one literary hack job. No less than Salman Rushdie has denounced the “philistine, sanctimonious, and disgraceful” practice of judging the novel’s concepts without having experienced them. And the news that a movie adaptation of the book sent many of the people described in the novel, the residents of London's Bangladeshi community, into an uproar. They perceive her writing to stereotype them in a demeaning way although the author herself has gone out of the way to point out that people oftentimes cannot see the parts of themselves which are true…and she has a point.

No matter where you stand on the matter, here is what is important about Brick Lane as a movie. It is considered the best movie of its type since Bend It Like Beckham and the book has several reviews that are nothing short of rapturous. Despite the limited release in North America, it’s worth tracking down if you get the opportunity in your area to see it. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for Brick Lane
Main Cast Tannishtha Chatterjee, Satish Kaushik, Christopher Simpson
Director Sarah Gavron
Screenwriter Laura Jones, Abi Morgan
Distributor Sony Pictures Classics
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Screen Count 7
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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