Rated NR 112 min. 2010

Julian Schnabel’s arguably engaging Palestinian history lesson uses the life and times of the East Jerusalem-born title woman (played by Freida Pinto from Slumdog Millionaire) to encapsulate the non-violent side of the Palestinian statehood movement. The screenplay, by author Rula Jebreal from her semi-autobiographical novel, takes Miral from a girl’s orphanage in 1978 through the Intifada years, with character turns by Hiam Abbass, Omar Metwally, Alexander Siddig, Willem Dafoe, and Vanessa Redgrave. Pinto handles the central role with a certain dignity, but the real drama is in Miral’s rejection of violence in favor of Hind Husseini’s (Abbass) example of education and negotiation. Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Basquiat) directs as if the fate of the world depended on it, but there’s something missing. Might have been better as a documentary.(112 min.)

Film Credits

Director: Julian Schnabel

Writer: Rula Jebreal

Producer: Jon Kilik

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Freida Pinto, Alexander Siddig, Hiam Abbass, Omar Metwally, Yasmine Elmasri, Makram Khoury, Shredi Jabarin, Jamil Khoury and Ruba Blal

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