Variety‘s Justin Chang is throwing the same intifada stones as Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson at Julian Schnabel‘s Miral. Who’s standing up for this film? How about the British critics? These reviews are fairly brutal.
The thrust of Chang’s criticism is that while Schnabel is obviously drawn to and engaged by a militant Palestinian perspective on this decades-old conflict, he lacks the stones and conviction to really go to town with it and risk giving offense in some quarters.
“While any film addressing the Israeli-Palestinian divide can expect a measure of controversy, few hearts or minds are likely to be stirred by Schnabel’s inoffensive, well-intentioned Miral,” Chang writes. “Schnabel’s signature blend of splintered storytelling and sobering humanism feels misapplied to this sweeping multigenerational saga of four Arab women living under Israeli occupation, the youngest of which, Miral, emerges a bland totem of hope rather than a compelling movie subject.
“Set to open this month in Europe, Miral will go out in the U.S. on 12.3 through the Weinstein Co., making it the rare film to favor a Palestinian p.o.v. and also be presented under the auspices of Harvey Weinstein, a vocal supporter of Israel.
“But while the film doesn’t shy away from portraying everyday Israeli abuses of authority, its approach to the conflict is calculated to offend as little as possible; the predictable, can’t-we-all-just-get-along coda would be easier to swallow were it preceded by a more politically engaged or personally engaging narrative.”