Movie Review: Mooz-Lum – in Select Theaters

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I recently saw the new movie, “Mooz-lum” directed by Qasim Basir and highly recommend it!  You can view the movie’s trailer below.

Movie Synopsis:

Tariq is a college freshman who uses the chance of going away from his parents as an opportunity to forget about his Muslim roots. His angst is challenged by racial crimes that are fueled by post-9/11 racial anxieties.

The movie, starring Danny Glover, Nia Long,  and Evan Ross, opened February 11, 2011, but only in select cities and theatres.  I saw it at the AMC theatre at Franklin Mills Mall during my Valentine’s Day Getaway in that same area area.  But the good news is that more locations are coming soon by demand!)

I love movies, especially when it’s a great film that also has a great message or teaches people something important in creative ways.  Movies like John Q (health insurance), Runaway Jury (gun control and jury tampering), and The Life of David Gale (capital punishment) all fit that criteria.  The storylines in these movies are excellent and the issue at hand isn’t “forced” onto the viewer; it happens naturally.

Mooz-lum is an outstanding script because it tells a great story while vividly illustrating unfounded prejudices that many Americans have against persons who practice the Muslim faith and culture… in a way we can both SEE and FEEL it, almost feeling their pain.

Mooz-lum was originally entered into a few film festivals last year:  UrbanWorld Film Festival (Winner), Chicago International Film Festival (Official Selection), and Cairo International Film Festival (Official Selection).  And now it’s an independent film making into select theatres thanks to AMC theatres and social marketing (Facebook, Twitter and word of mouth).

According to Euroweb,

Mooz-lum “exceeded expectations at the box office last weekend, earning $12,712 per screen — one of the highest per screen averages in the country. AMC Theatres® (AMC) had the film exclusively in 10 cities on 11 screens.”

I’d even say it is a “must see” film and that it’s “right on time” for the type of race issues busting at the seams in today’s society.  It helped me to understand the Muslim way of life a little better and appreciate some of their values and choices.   I admit, I’m not super well versed in the Muslim faith, other than they worship Allah and that the women choose to wear head coverings.

Nia Long does a great job portraying Tarik's mother.

What is so interesting is the many different levels of prejudices that this movie shows.  There is the obvious level of people who just hate Muslims “just-because” (like people who hate *all* Muslims after the 911 attacks; the movie takes place around this time).  It also shows the not-so-obvious levels such as Tyriq’s Black dorm-mate who in his mind thinks he’s “friends” with Tariq, but Tariq breaks it down to him (and his sister) as to why he’s not a true “friend.”  How he actually made his life harder.

It even reveals some ills inside of the Muslim Faith. As with any sect or group of people, there are always some bad apples in the bunch.  And it even shows a marital relationship that tears apart based on two people, both Muslim, having very different views about how things should go.  My favorite part (without giving too much away) is when the mother hears her son’s voice and even though he says things are “fine,” she immediately knows otherwise.  Perhaps this affected me the most since I am now the mother of a little guy.  He’s only two-years-old right now but when he’s older I hope I will know when something isn’t right, no matter what he says.

The only thing that saddens me about the movie is that people who really ought and need to see this movie probably never will.

But even for those of us who “think” we have no prejudices, the movies shows the subtlely of how even “we” can unknowingly have them.  For example, I think some Christians struggle with loving all people, particularly people who do not believe like they do.  They forget that they still have to love the person.  Jesus would… the very person Christians follow.  Jesus was such a radical in this area that He said, “Love your enemies.”  He also was social with quite a few hated people groups in the Bible.  Yet people in our society, Christians included, tend to stone people (figuratively) who have different religious views.  For shame.

The official Facebook page for the movie Mooz-Lum recently posed a question in its status, asking people to tell the reason that others need to see this movie.  Below are some of the responses:

  • It opens eyes
  • it’s eye-opening!
  • It’s important! Shows that each Muslim is an individual and goes through the same things everyone else does.
  • People should see this movie because it could open up their eyes and see some of the struggles that we face on a daily basis.
  • because the “mainstream” will never show you this Muslim American perspective.
  • It’s amazing and corrects most of the myths about Islam!!!!!
  • It shows how from the typical American-Muslim’s point of view and the struggle the younger generation has to deal with at school and in society.
  • It’s important to be knowledgeable of others culture to learn to appreciate the differences as well as many of the similarities we share no matter our cultural or spirtual differences!
  • It bridges our differences
  • Have not been so lucky to see the movie, but the Trailer made me cry. Why you might ask @ 36 I might add. It shows my life growing up in America and Afro-American and felt like I was stuck between 2 worlds. Having my scarf pulled off in Kindergarden and the teacher laughng and me fighting
  • I never had a negative  view of Islam.However i never fully understood how loving and peacful u all really were. It is a beautiful story of love hate and victory! my eyes are open a little wider now. And to my own blood fam that are muslim i see u cleary now i love honor and respect u! See this movie is life changing…..
  • it is thought provoking and the truth of its powerful message speaks volumes!!!
  • The actors and actresses r SUPERB.
  • My whole family enjoyed the movie to night … A must see ..
  • Because WE ALL have misconceptions.
  • because it has a great story! which many of us live each day

Please help spread the word about this movie. Help it go mainstream without the conventional methods (i.e., Hollywood).  Share it, facebook it, tweet it, e-mail it, and word of mouth it! :)

As always, comments are welcome below.

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