Friday, March 4, 2022

Meskina: Movie Review

Universal rom-com theme that over does it in every aspect.
There’s a universal appeal to Meskina, a Moroccan-Dutch rom-com, that takes the common sit-com-like premise of a 30-year-old woman unlucky in love and her family takes it upon themselves to fix her life. The potential humour is obvious – but at least the film knows that and plays up its very playful and broad style. The film also knows the obviousness of its storyline, such that the comedy is highlighted and no time is wasted in set-ups we can all see coming.   2021

Directed by: Daria Bukvic

Screenplay by: Fadua El Akchaoui, Daria Bukvic, and Ernst Gonlag

Starring: Maryam Hassouni

With all that said, while I understand all of the style choices, I don’t like it. It’s very brightly coloured with fast pacing, fashion choices that are just weird, and social media-infused editing. I’m one of the few that likes Mainstream and still found the social media styled editing in that movie off-putting. The similar style here is worse. It makes everything feel over-the-top, that everyone is over-acting, and it was all just a bit much. Loud and obnoxious family members are very common side characters in rom-coms (and sit-coms) and very easy to over do it. Which they have done here. I hate every one of Leyla’s family members, and not in a hate-but-love-to-watch way, but in a please-get-off-my-screen way because they are so annoying.

There’s definitely value in films knowing how uncomplicated and commonplace their story is. It gives audience comfort food without insulting their patience. I get that and appreciate that, especially when you’re a Moroccan movie on Netflix and can now reach a much more global audience. The bright, loud, fast style is clearly done on purpose and for good reason, but it also makes the movie that much more annoying and hard to get into. Olaf Ait Tami as the pop star icon Abedlkarim is great. The approach to that paparazzi-chased international celebrity idol is fun and fresh. I feel it’s a character that is so often one-sided but Olaf Ait Tami has found a way to humanize him despite the very stereotypical character traits.

Maryam Hassouni as Leyla is funny. A character that the audience will always be on the side of, and again, the film knows that so no time is wasted in establishing her character. It’s all a given. Like her family members, she comes across as over-acting. Not as annoying as the mother and sister characters, but annoying enough such that some audience members will be left on the sidelines.

Meskina hits the emotional beats and it is funny. It’s a very light and flashy and chaotic approach to a universal theme so the appeal is there. But it’s also all just so much. It goes bigger and bolder way more than it should and often comes across as irritating rather than as enjoyable as it could be.