My Father’s Violin 2022 Movie Review
“Through their shared grief and connection to music an orphaned girl bonds with her emotionally aloof, successful violinist uncle.”
From the blurb you could be excused for expecting My Father’s Violin (Babamin Kemani) to be yet another soppy family drama, but you’d be wrong.
While this new on Netflix Turkish drama is an uncomplicated story, perhaps even a little simplistic at times, it’s sweetly told without a trace of saccharine syrupy-ness. This is mainly down to the Gülizar Nisa Uray playing 8-year-old Özlem with a confidence that belies her lack of experience.
Sharing a strong bond with her poor violinist father Ali Riza (Selim Erdogan) Özlem’s homelife is full of love and laughter, where he makes up stories to explain his scars rather than reveal the real terrible history to them. Theirs is a precarious existence making a living busking illegally with three friends who are like extended family to Özlem. Precocious and confident, while they play, she dances and encourages the passersby who have stopped to listen to show their appreciation by tipping the musicians.
Özlem’s happy world comes to a sudden halt when her father dies, but her sadness is tempered by the knowledge that she has her father’s three friends to care for her. Sadly though, Child Protective Services won’t allow this and she’s taken into temporary care at an orphanage, where she’ll stay unless the uncle she’s never met will take custody of her.
Her uncle Mehmet (Engin Altan Düzyatan) is a famous violinist who focuses solely on his career, which causes friction within his childless marriage. He’s not cut out to be a substitute father so agrees to pretend to take custody of Özlem then hand over guardianship of her to his brother’s friends. However, gaining custody requires him to do more than sign a form. Child Protective Services want to check up on her living arrangements, so Özlem ends up staying with him.
And it’s because of this, via some twists, that Özlem finds a new home and Mehmet discovers there is more to life than being a big shot violinist.
Is My Father’s Violin predictable? Ultimately, yes, of course it is. It’s a feelgood movie, so you know precisely what you’re getting from the start, and that it’ll end happily. But as with any journey, it’s not the destination that counts but how you get there.
Is the story believable? Not entirely, especially the ending, but what happens on the way is endearing.
On the plus side, despite some flaws in the storyline, the performances all-round cannot be faulted. The Byzantine and Ottoman architecture of Istanbul’s urban landscape is scenically pleasing. And the music is beautiful.