Newbie Norwegian filmmaker Iram Haq’s new drama is based on her own life and her struggle as a woman caught between two cultures. Struggling actress Mina, a second-generation immigrant, is an attractive 27 year old divorcee who shares custody of her 6 year old son with her ex-husband, a successful architect, and his new wife who can barely contain their disapproval of Mina and her rather flighty life.
Even her hypocritical mother, the matriarch in their traditional Pakistani family, cannot stop criticising her daughter every time they meet. ‘What a fine man, imagine if he were still a member of this family’ she intones about her ex son in law. Mina’s only joy, asides from her son, comes from her all her sexual liaisons with a slew of unsuitable men. When they sense her neediness, they all use this an excuse to manipulate and abuse her.
This comes to a head when she meets Jesper a Swedish filmmaker visiting Oslo. He is quite the charmer and so Mina chooses to overlook that he is both self-centred and extremely passive/aggressive when it comes to the relationship that they fall into too quickly. She goes to great lengths to please Jesper in whom she has invested all her hope even to the point that doing so may jeopardise the one stable thing in her life i.e. her relationship with her son.
The same time that Mina eventually appreciates that Jesper cannot/will not make any commitment to a relationship especially when he realises he has to compete with a 6 year old child for her attention, her mother comes to visit cap in hand to admit that her own perfect marriage is not what it seemed after all.
It’s an impressive first feature from 38 year old Haq and was selected to be Norways’ Official Submission for a Best Foreign Picture Oscar Nomination. She cast the movie very well with convincing performances from her two leads: Amrita Acharia a Norwegian/Ukranian/Nepalese actress best known for playing Irri in the ‘Game of Thrones’ and Ola Rapace who was in ‘Skyfall’ but is better known for being the ex-husband of Noomi Rapace.