Review: You Resemble Me

Review written by Ruby Lawson.

You Resemble Me, is a 2021 internationally co-produced drama film, directed by Dina Amer in her directorial debut, from a screenplay by Amer and Omar Mullick. It stars Lorenza Grimaudo, Ilonna Grimaudo, Mouna Soualem, Sabrina Ouazani, Dina Amer, Alexandre Gonin, Grégoire Colin and Zinedine Soualem.

Spike Lee, Spike Jonze, Riz Ahmed and Alma Har’el serve as executive producers on the film.

Cultural and intergenerational trauma erupt in this story about two sisters on the outskirts of Paris. After the siblings are torn apart, the eldest, Hasna, struggles to find her identity, leading to a choice that shocks the world.

Director Dina Amer takes on one of the darkest issues of our time and deconstructs it in an intimate story about family, love, sisterhood, and belonging.

This movie was nothing like I expected. Hasana’s story is complex, it completely replicated injustice yet in the form of such a vulnerable topic. Her dream of becoming a hero to battle the people in her life that caused her great pain touched me deeply but by the end it all shockingly made sense.

I imagined her relationship with her sister, Mariam to come full circle as familial bonds hold great purpose in movies such as this where the audience are exploited to a world of such disorder. She
wanted to withstand harm and evil, yet it was truly the thing that swallowed her whole. I am sure everyone has seen the aftermath of a terrorist attack, we will see the headline, the name, and the
face and after that the perpetrator is buried without a trace.

Following Hasana’s story was seriously unsettling, yet it opened up an opportunity to view the other side of things, away from her complexity of her religion, her femininity was abused massively and that was where I hurt for her. Her story of her abuse from childhood to becoming a prostitute angered me in such a way that I question the ways of the world even more each day. And also, how in the space of 20 minutes I watched a young girl in her floaty pink dress playing cowboys with her sister, then getting punched to the ground by a drug dealer in a night club cubicle.

It feels wrong when the topic of terrorist organisations is still so fresh in our current day to feel these emotions from someone who ended arguably as an antagonist, yet I see Hasana as a young girl who never has the chance to be listened to; not by the military officer who refused her employment, neither by the man who implied he would drive her home safe at such a young age and seemingly didn’t. She was used, poked, prodded and then resented.

The entire movie is spoken in french, based in Paris, and to set the film in a place of such universally known beauty and romanticism, but then to follow it with a grotesque life story of a young Arab woman was very hard to get my head around. These real-life stories do grip me.

Seeing Hasana and Mariam as children really depicted the chaos and hurt that children just cannot understand mentally. The first half of the film seen through the eyes of young Hasana is so heart
breaking as the director has purposefully replicated a place of war, poverty and abuse through the purest form of a child. The anecdotal element at the end of the movie was the most touching of all as it really evoked the realism of Hasana’s story.

What I found most interesting is the media’s inaccuracy of her story, and the fact they took three images of completely different people believing it was her when reporting on her death. The media once again come to let us down. I truly believed Hasana would remain a guardian angel to her little sister. Yet the twist and manipulation that takes place within the movie is tortuous to someone like me who enjoys to predict these films and leave myself underwhelmed. I was not underwhelmed when I watched “You resemble me”.

Despite all this, I would’ve really liked the special effects of Hasana’s erratic, somewhat split personality to be more professionally done as I felt it really took away from the realism when the idea of her personality being a complex one was a crucial element to the movie. Like I said, Hasana’s story is complex and her family’s feelings portrayed before the credits are very blunt. Therefore, as a writer it is a challenge to form opinions on triggering matters such as this, as it feels it is not mine to give.

The most important thing I gained from this movie was to be aware of others and stay grateful for the health and happiness that you share as it could be argued Hasana’s death was because of her
neglect from those who should have loved her the most.

3/5- A stable and relevant portrayal of the world and its disorder as we know it

You Resemble Me had its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival in the Venice Days section on September 8, 2021. It was released in the United States on November 4, 2022.

It will be released in the United Kingdom and Ireland on February 3, 2023 by Modern Films.

Review: COAST


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