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El Houb 2023 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
While watching this, I got a phone call that I needed to answer so I paused. After the call, I had a look at the timings and 40 minutes had elapsed. I remember thinking to myself that I might not make it to the end – I had thought we were way past halfway. As it happens, I got to the end but it was hard.
Let me deal with the device of Karim sitting in a storage closet as a metaphor for his own closeted life. Critics and commentators have marvelled at this as a neat way to explain and mirror his existence. To me it was about the crassest and clunkiest imagery possible. No subtlety at all. I had to giggle to myself when I wondered how and where he would have pooed and peed.
Then there was the verisimilitude of the plot. Why was he caught in that way? Why a ring on the doorbell that day?
And if anyone believes that a Moroccan family as traditional as this one would tolerate their gay son sitting in the closet switching utilities off while trying to get them to accept he’s gay, they ought to have another think coming. He’d be out, shunned, dead to them.
What was authentic in the film was the utter intolerance (engendered by religion) of overt difference. Living in each others pockets amongst nosey neighbours was true to life as well. Also the utter hypocrisy of this microcosm of Moroccan society within which man on man action is far more prevalent than in Western societies as long as it’s hush hush.
However, the agonising of Karim, whom I found not to be a sympathetic character, was not plausible at all. Remember he was only coming out because he’d been caught. He’d have stayed in the closet for good had Kofi not answered the door. He’d have betrayed more people like Sofiane in his utter and profound need not to rock the boat.
As I said, I got to the end of the film. But I’d been bored. I know I’m going to get a load of down votes – I’m sure people rate on the simple fact that a film has a gay theme and not on its objective excellence. But this is my honest opinion. It’s a pretty poor film.
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