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MOVIE REVIEW: Cairo Time

Cairo Time: Rates a C-.
Courtesy photo

Cairo Time sure takes its time. And that’s not something that usually bothers me in movies.

The slow pacing of Lost in Translation is one of the few things that worked in that movie.

The premise of this film: a woman goes to Cairo for a vacation with her husband, who works for the UN and is stuck in Gaza. One of his friends and former co-workers shows her around town, as she grows more and more restless being cooped in a hotel all day. She also grows more and more interested in her escort.

Patricia Clarkson, one of the most underrated character actresses around, is just wonderful. In fact, she played this part better than Meryl Streep would have.

Her escort around Cairo is actor Alexander Siddig, a very handsome man that makes this couple enjoyable to watch.

And supporting actress Elena Anaya isn’t too shabby, as the beautiful younger girlfriend of another UN worker.

I was mesmerized by the first 40 minutes, but slowly started to become less interested.

I enjoyed the fact that the courtship of these two takes time to develop. There’s nothing more frustrating than watching movie couples jump into bed right away, or fall madly in love – and we’re wondering why they would’ve fallen for each other. These two have enjoyable moments together.

It’s exactly the type of thing missing from I Am Love, when it makes little sense why Tilda Swinton would fall for a friend of her son.

I think the chemistry between the two leads lacks a little something, but that falls on writer/director Ruba Nadda. I think she should’ve given the script a few more memorable pieces of dialogue. I did enjoy how Nadda lets the facial expressions and silences speak volumes.

A lot of the shots are great. There are the packed streets, hookah pipes in coffee shops, white desert, pyramids in the background of people golfing, full moon over the Nile, and many more. I’d like a little more though, than just interesting visuals; just a few more interesting things about these two characters would’ve really helped.

I thought about Sex and the City 2 when I saw the camels, and I thought about how Clarkson reminds me a little of a character from that movie. She’s obviously intelligent (she runs a magazine, plays a mean game of chess, etc). Yet for some reason, she’s a bit naïve when it comes to how the locals do things. That gets her into a few hairy situations.

This was a long way to go for not much of a payoff, although it was nice that the last 10 minutes were a satisfying conclusion.

I overheard one couple leaving the theatre and the woman asked her husband, “Did you like it?” He paused, before replying “I didn’t not like it.”

That sums it up perfectly.

I’m glad I saw Cairo Time, but can only give it a C-.