In a remarkable directorial and screenwriting debut from Arab-Israeli filmmaker Maysaloun Hamoud, In Between encapsulates the struggle between identity and conflicting cultural expectations.
The audience is introduced to the Israelian backdrop through a series of endearing moments in Tel Aviv, including an electric night of partying and casual, lighthearted conversations the day after. While they recoup, Leila (Mouna Hawa) and Salma (Sana Jammelieh) welcome their new roommate Nour (Shaden Kanboura), who appears to follow traditional Muslim values while studying for school. Writer/director Hamoud follows a pseudo-coming-of-age format within comfortably guided framework. We watch these women pursue happiness (and occasional romance) under the thumb of oppressing “old-fashioned” views. Nour, in particular, has a redefining arc as she realizes her self-worth while engaged to her uncompromising fiancé Wissam (Henry Andrawes). In Between becomes more confrontational as the roommates are forced to stand their ground against family and other outsiders. It’s heartbreaking moments like these that allow the characters to show their bravery and create a stronger bond with each other.
Not only is In Between an empowering film, but it also inspires progression. This perfect movie is already a frontrunner for being one of the best films of the year.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie