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Not Without My Daughter 1991
Description: An American woman, trapped in Islamic Iran by her brutish husband, gotta search a method to escape with her daughter as well.
Released: 11 Jan 1991 Director: Brian Gilbert Writers: Betty Mahmoody (book), William Hoffer (book), David W. Rintels (screenplay) Actors: Sally Field, Alfred Molina, Sheila Rosenthal, Roshan Seth Genres: Drama, Thriller
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Not Without My Daughter Reviews:

While I was re-watching bits of this film a several weeks ago, I read the player comments here at IMDb and was very disturbed. Since it is still bothering me, I decided to write my own comments on the film and on what has been told here.First, the movie. It is about an international custody battle. That is a very true trouble in this day and age. When couples from various countries break up they often every wish the kids to live with them and grow up in the country (and culture) in which they were raised. Every naturally thinks the method he or she was raised is better for their children. This film is Betty Mahmoody's story. And the culture clash is between the United States and Iran. It takes zone in 1984. The Ayatollah Khomeini was still very much the leader Iran and the Iran-Iraq fight had been going on for 4 years and would continue for other 4. Iran was quite isolated from much of the globe at that time. And 'Moody' Mahmoody, an Iranian-born doctor practicing in the U.S., brings his American wife, Betty, and their daughter, Mahtob, to Iran for a visit. When they arrive, Moody is dismayed at the changes in Iran, especially the breakdown of the education system and the resulting shortage of doctors. Then he becomes an ultra, ultra fundamentalist Muslim – so reactionary he makes suicide bombers look moderate. He demands that Betty dress and behave how he thinks a nice Muslim wife could and wants their daughter to be raised to do the same. He becomes physically abusive to Betty. If she wants to return to America, it is fine with him, but Mahtob will remain with him in Iran. So Betty plans a risky escape for herself and her daughter.Does the film work? Somewhat. 'Women in peril' films are everytime a guilty pleasure and Sally Field is a nice actress. The largest trouble is with Moody's character. Alfred Molina is a unbelievable actor, but it's difficult to do much with a hero that undergoes such a radical change in his primary hero in a matter of weeks. I kept expecting to learn that he had once been diagnosed as psychotic or schizophrenic.Is the film unfair to the Iranian people? Again, somewhat. Virtually all the characters in the film except Betty and Mahtob are Iranian. Some are good. Some are bad. But you can't have a 'woman in peril' with no peril. And that is provided by Moody and his family. But the folks who support Betty escape are also Iranian. What unfairness there is lies not in maligning the Iranian folks (it doesn't do that) but in implying (and sometimes telling explicitly) that the Iranian culture is inferior just because it is not westernized. As a gratis American girl I would not wish to live in any fundamentalist society, regardless of which religion was in control. But post-revolution Iran is no more representative of thousands of years of Persian culture than Italy under Mussolini was representative of a land that produced the Roman Empire and Michelangelo.Is the film unfair to Moody? No, because this is BETTY's story. Talk to anyone in a bitter custody war and they'll say you all about why their ex is evil. And they wouldn't be lying. They are giving you their mission of view. That doesn't mean Moody doesn't have a various mission of view which is equally real and equally untrue (and which, I gather from the comments, was explored in other movie.) But 'Not Without My Daughter' doesn't pretend to be a sociological examination into the two sides of a dispute. Allow me repeat for the third time, this is BETTY's story.That brings me to why some of the comments disturb me so much. I would totally understand if some viewers thought the film was silly or inaccurate or biased. But few writers have used their reviews as an excuse to joyfully bash the United States. My favourite was 'Who died and made Americans god to do films about another countries??' That writer is from Sweden but doesn't seem to have a trouble with Jan Troell making 'The Fresh Land' (Nybyggarna) about America. And, were we to listen to her, we wouldn't have 'An American in Paris' or 'The Killing Fields' or 'Out of Africa' or 'Amadeus' (all of which are much better movies than 'Not Without My Daughter.') But in the United States we have freedom of speech. That means that film producers are gratis to create any film to which they think they can sell tickets. And, as a member of the viewing public, when I disagree with what they are telling I have a very easy remedy. I don't purchase a ticket.


The storyline said in NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER is a straightforward tale of an abusive boy who traps his wife and daughter in a zone from which there is no escape unless the wife agrees to go home by herself. Which naturally she refuses to do.I read the book; there was nothing in it to create me doubt Betty Mahmoody's storyline one iota. Those of you who are screaming "bigotry, racism, and lies" would do well to look inside your own hearts because I suspect there's plenty of duplicity in there.Sally Field delivers her usual powerhouse performance as the mother and Alfred Molina is surprisingly sympathetic as her husband. He's abusive, yes, but he is also a boy caught between two fully various value systems and in the end one can't support but empathize with his inability to reconcile his love for his wife and daughter (read the book; there was plenty of love there in the beginning) and the loyalty he cannot support but feel towards his family in Tehran."People! Take your meds!" ~ Judge Elizabeth Donnelly (Judith Light), "Law & Order: Unique Victims Unit;" episode titled "Zebras."


I have seen this film a several times and in my opinion, I enjoyed it and didn't search it racist at all. This is what happened to Betty and her story.Is she telling that this is how ALL Iranians are? No, just what happened to her. The film didn't give Iranians all a terrible name because who were the folks who helped her to escape from Iran? They were Iranians. It was not like each single person she met in Iran was rude to her. She is just talking about her husband's family and the method they treated her. Also remember this happened in 1984, twenty years ago. For folks to compare Iran actually to the Iran in the movie, it's fully different. The country has changed in the pass 20 years. I totally enjoyed this film and admire the true Betty's courage. As a mother myself, I fully understand her not wanting to leave without her daughter. I would war to the ends of the globe for my kid and that is what Betty did for her kid as well.



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