Friday, June 23, 2023

Make Me Believe: Movie Review

Sen Inandir the Turkish rom-com that translates to Make Me Believe is surprisingly sweet and funny as it successfully balances the core pillars of a romantic comedy. While it does have the enemies to friends to lovers trope, it also has meddling grannies. Grandmothers tend to know who their grandkids are meant to be with and that holds true here as the two grannies make the most of the limited screen-time reuniting old bickering frenemies and then lets love take over.   2023

Directed by: Evren Karabiyik Günaydin, and Murat Saraçoglu

Screenplay by: Selen Bagci

Starring: Ayça Aysin Turan, Ekin Koç

The two grandmothers live next door to each other. They call their grandkids with fake heart problems and then spend the day at the beach while Sahra and Deniz show up at their doors ready to take care of them. It’s a good premise since Sahra and Deniz knew each other as kids but not very well since they would have only seen each other if they were both visiting their grandparents at the same time, and then as they get older and life takes different turns, they’re essentially strangers.

So they don’t know each other very well but what they do remember of each other, isn’t good; they hate each other. Sahra broke something of Deniz’s and Deniz ignored and insulted Sahra. There may be some confusion in the translations. But it’s a very simple premise and basic plotline that a lack of Turkish knowledge isn’t going to be an obstacle.

The first half is relatively slow, primarily just using the bickering frenemies as comedy but the two meddling grannies show up as needed. What the first half lacks in engaging comedy, it makes up for with the gorgeous photography of Turkey’s cities and coastlines.

The professional life of the two lead characters also proves to be worthwhile. Sahra is an editor at a magazine and Deniz is a photographer. While these jobs are fairly common in movie characters, they also seem very real as presented. And they’re relevant to the plot. Sahra wants to interview Deniz, something he famously declines every time when asked.

The key to a romantic comedy is to allow the relationship to develop in a way that the audience still cares for both of them. And that’s what works here. Their frenemies to lovers is done very gradually but because they’re getting to know each other in time with the audience getting to know them too. The comedy is light at the beginning but the romance is really sweet by the end. It’s a good progression.

Both lead actors are very good-looking with beautifully expressive eyes. And with the backdrop of an ancient city and the cliffs and beaches of Turkey, this is a gorgeous movie. The score also develops from a whimsical tone to some romantic-sounding music in the end.

It’s a standard and simplistic romantic comedy trajectory and story, but it’s very nicely produced and worth spending two hours in Turkey, virtually.