June 23, 2024

Basma 2024 Movie Review

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Basma 2024 Movie Review

Families are complicated no matter where you go. Every family member has a distinct personality and a set of opinions. At times, these things can bond people, and at others, they can break them apart. Fatima AlBanawi’s “Basma,” the new South Arabian drama film on Netflix, explores similar complications in the family of a young Saudi woman – Basma. Years ago, she moved to the US to pursue higher education. The pandemic kept her away from Jeddah for a year, but upon returning, she found her family life transformed in unexpected ways.

A couple of months ago, Basma’s mother divorced her father. She didn’t inform Basma, worrying it would affect her focus on her life offshore. Regardless, the reason for divorce wasn’t just a recent argument. Basma learns that her mother had held on to some harsher truths for years. Her father has had some mental health issues. However, he refused to take his medication, which made it difficult for others to live with him. Eventually, it led to the divorce.

Basma finds it hard to digest this since she never saw this side of her family. She considered it to be as normal as the ideal versions she had come across. Since her return from the US, she had not seen her father in person. So, once she gets a chance, she goes to meet him against her mother’s & brother’s wishes. Basma recalls the loving side of her father despite knowing his stubbornness, which results in occasional tantrums. Basma understands her ‘baba’ will defend his medical knowledge and his stance against everyone he disagrees with. So, she doesn’t mind spending time with him or his adamant nature.

Slowly, Basma develops her loving bond with her father while learning what others have to say about him. During this time, she visits people from her past and also sees her old self through their eyes. She realizes how she has changed over the years offshore and during the time upon her return. Basma grows fond of her father to the point she defends him against others. It reflects her concern toward her aging parent, filled with pity toward his apparent loneliness.

Throughout the film’s duration, Fatima AlBanawi neatly builds multiple sides of Basma’s character to make her growth feel organic and utterly believable. Before leaving the US, Basma cut her hair short and shared it for donation to those who need it. Besides, in her profession, she strives to find sustainable solutions for collective benefit rather than merely personal ones. She also puts her father first, even if some of his demands seem impulsive or irrational. It reflects her selfless and altruistic nature. However, that doesn’t limit Basma from wanting things that any other young person wants.

Besides Basma, her father’s character is also written with the required sensibility and provides insight into his psyche. His condition doesn’t define him; it only expresses a side of his complicated personality. At times, he is calm, patient, understanding, and full of wisdom. Otherwise, you notice the reflection of unpleasant traits. While tying all these knots, AlBanawi’s script never turns into a two-sided drama. It understands that people aren’t just the versions they show to us or the ones we choose to see. AlBanawi’s and Yasir AlSasi’s thoughtful performances help reflect different sides of Basma and her baba’s personalities.

Nevertheless, “Basma” suffers from a couple of issues. At times, it relies on the sentimentality of a moment more than necessary and hits a false note. Besides, the script tries to connect Basma’s personal life lessons to her professional endeavors in environmental management. This connection feels forcefully fit even though AlBanawi’s intent seems earnest. The film could have easily worked without similarly sappy occasions and a slightly shorter runtime. Still, even if there is nothing novel or groundbreaking about its story, “Basma” manages to tug at your heartstrings.

Basma 2024 Movie Review