Terminally Self-Conscious Mooz-lum Plays Like an After-Madrasa Special

Solemn, unsubtle, and terminally self-conscious, Mooz-lum is maxed out on a number of fronts, beginning with the emotional investment of its director, Qasim Basir. The “actual events” that Mooz-lum is based on presumably involve Basir’s experience growing up in a Muslim family, and, as sometimes happens when translating personal stories, the stresses fall in all the wrong places. The will of a quaking family patriarch (Roger Guenveur Smith) to send his son Tariq (Jonathan Smith) to an Islamic boarding school leads to a split with his moderate wife (Nia Long). Mooz-lum alternates between the bumpy assimilation of adult Tariq (Evan Ross) into college—where he reinvents himself as “T” and renounces his faith—and his embattled younger years. Both storylines play like an after-madrasa special, from the animatronic performances and overbearing sound and dialogue cues (a cleric’s slaps get kung-fu effects; Tariq’s fellow co-eds speak in The More You Know koans) to the evasive streamlining of complicated themes. A subplot involving a Muslim professor and an intolerant dean (Danny Glover) is similarly ill-articulated; Glover is the ignorant infidel, around mainly to mispronounce “Muslim.” When the 9/11 card is abruptly pulled from Basir’s kufi, all hope that it might be played to the film’s advantage evaporates.

 
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10 comments
Zu
Zu

I do believe there is some sort of bias here, of course everyone has a right to their opinion but by the sound of the review just seem like this person when in with a certain mine set, I honestly think the fact that the main character wasn't struggling with his sexual identity made it much less appealing, sorry just my thoughts.

Aktar26
Aktar26

very touching movie, the actors even though being non-muslim they played the role really well its nice to see an insight into ordinary muslims life and not someone like bin laden

LawrencemuH
LawrencemuH

Michelle you obviously went in the movie with a closed mind and in your tone a personal bias against Muslims.

Abc
Abc

To be honest, this really just sound like the movie is getting hated on without much reason other that well placed vocabulary and no real world determination or explanation on the film!

sfkev
sfkev

I haven't seen it yet but thus far, this reviewer is in the minority. 5 other reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes love iot and it has garnered an 8.1 including the negative review above.

hami'am
hami'am

I have not seen the movie but from what I saw in the trailer, it did not look appealing to me....and I am Muslim. Some of my muslim friends want to see it but I and a couple of others got a feeling that it would be a depressing film.

From your review, I think that my feelings of staying away from this movies are correct. I'm sure some people will watch it and love it.

In the trailer, the movie seems so unbalance, life is so depressing for Tariq. I had fun going to the masjid...did not like sunday school sometimes, but hanging with my friends at the masjid, learning and growing together as muslims was very exciting. I don't think that this movie will reflect a brighter side to growing up muslim in America.

The main character seemed so weak and depressing with no backbone at all!He was getting on my nerves! That is so sad, I haven't seen the movie but I dislike him already. I know a lot of muslims go through peer pressure and want to change to fit in...everybody goes through that in some kind of way. I did, but at the same time I always loved my religion and didn't want to change for anybody. Oh well, everyone is different.

Thank you for the review.

Jana Mirrh
Jana Mirrh

How did you get he was "struggling with his sexual identity"? It was his whole identity, I think, not sexual, as in confused about which gender he prefers. That's what your post suggests. I agree with this review in that the director and write was too close and was unable to tell us the story in a more clear way to have a full impact. Too much was left to guess. It was too stressed without any clear message, it was convoluted. so perhaps that's why you came to the conclusion that he was struggling with his sexual identity?

Robert Salaam
Robert Salaam

Brother you really need to go see this film for yourself before relying on a such negative and biased review that codifies your initial reaction from a trailer. I love my deen and I believe this film is a great representation of an aspect of our story that many Americans never hear about. I saw the film last night and met the director who hosted a Q&A many Muslims and non-Muslims were in attendance and all loved the film.

Shibli Zaman
Shibli Zaman

"The main character seemed so weak and depressing with no backbone at all!He was getting on my nerves! That is so sad, I haven't seen the movie but I dislike him already."

Wow, you're really dumb. Aside from this joker with a made-up Muslim sounding name, I suspect Ms. Orange already had her review written well before she ever saw the movie.

hami'am
hami'am

Robert, I went to see the movie and I must say that I was very much wrong about it! The 1st trailer totally misrepresented the movie for me! One of my good friends begged me to attend a viewing and a Q&A session with the director. I know that a lot of muslim parents were not happy with some of the images portrayed by the characters and left as soon as the film was over. I didn't like some of the stuff that the muslims were doing (dancing at a concert, hanging in dorms with the opposite sex) but the truth is, this is reality. That is something that parents will have to have discussions with their kids about. The director wasn't teaching Islam, just telling a story about what happens in life.

I would say that the majority of people who watched it loved it, including myself. I will buy it when it comes out on dvd.

My advice...dont listen to me lol or base your opinion on a trailer. Sometimes people are right but a lot of times we have to find out for ourselves.I have much respect for the director and I look forward to more of his projects.

 

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