Tag Archives: Domestic Abuse

Film Review: Darlings (2022)

Badrunnisa (Alia Bhatt) and Hamza Shaikh (Vijay Varma) are young lovers. On one of their dates, Hamza surprises her that he is getting the job and will marry her soon. After three years of marriage, Hamza is addicted to drinking which makes him a wife-beater.

Darlings is one of those millions of brown society marital stories where the couples try their best to stretch the bond in the early years of marriage and also believe that once their munna (baby) arrives in this world, he or she will become the blessing and the fights will decrease. And the couples will spend quality time. Alas, the alcohol is strong enough to intoxicate and destroy the marriage.

I am not sure whose idea was it but I opine that Darlings has missed their chance to address a highly sensitive social, domestic, and marital concern – domestic abuse. Instead of utilizing the plot and using the best source of Aliya, Vijay, and Shefali, and nailing a staunch reality into a significant family drama, the makers chose to make Darlings a dramedy.

Most of the methods of cinematic appeal for Darlings is senseless and clueless. The continuity of the screenplay raises a lot of hows and whys. Unimpressive direction proves that the debutant director Jasmeet K Reen is a complete novice.


MINUSES

Let me write you a few of my bullet disagreements:

1. UNDEVELOPED PROCEEDINGS

In scene 1, Hamza breaks the news to Badru about his job and marriage, and hugs. In scene 2, three years later, Hamza beats Badru for a bad dinner. I get it, the makers wanted to send a chill in the audience with this shocking development but where is the impact?

The audience missed three years of unwanted marital decline that caused the downfall of the marriage. Hence, the development of the central characters, their chemistry, and the entire fallout of marital respect that fluctuates between love and rage is absent which makes the proceedings flat. For this factor, I understand that television dramas play a vital role but the films can still highlight a few minutes of my objection above and justify the screenplay.

2. DRAMEDY???

A subject so crucial and sensitive is taken too lightly and irresponsibly that compromises realism. After the death of the child, how can there ever possibly be comedy at all? All the sequences with the police and police station were utter nonsense. The art of lying in Indian films is the fakest of all fakes that I have never understood. And Darlings maintains the tradition of the characters lying to the other and the latter buying it.

3. WHERE IS THE DOMESTIC ABUSE???

A film based on domestic abuse doesn’t have enough much intensity to dramatize the marital violence besides that shocking scene where Hamza lets Badru fall resulting in a miscarriage. On a few occasions, when Hamza is about to beat Badru, the scene shifts towards the salon where the salon lady routinely hears the screaming. Why not dramatize violence and make the audience cold? When Hamza breaks Badru’s finger with a high-heel sandal, the scene doesn’t show the hit but we listen to the cracking sound.

4. PLOTHOLES

In almost every couple of scenes, there is a plothole. Darlings is a directional disaster where most of the scenes raise questions and make no sense. How come not a single neighbor wakes up or shows up spectating Hamza throwing Badru out of the house late at night? How come the hospital didn’t report to the police the domestic violence that resulted in miscarriage. Section 312 in the Indian Penal Code imprisons such for a minimum of three years, and perhaps with a fine also. Why do the mother and daughter plan to torture Hamza for killing the child instead of making a police case against him as they were intending to do earlier until Badru gave him a chance? Why is Zulfi speaking in sign language and making the mother and daughter guess where Hamza is when the police squad is not with them? Again, how come no one spectates in the society that not one but three people are trying to throw Hamza from the terrace?


PLUSES

If there are pluses, that lies only in the performances. Let me brief you on those:

1. ALIA BHATT

The central casting is Darlings’ positive frame. Alia Bhatt’s performance shuts every possible disagreement that she cannot perform. Those who encourage boycotting films because Alia features are fooling themselves. Her existence and presence in the film are one of the major reasons why at 29, she can run the business of her films on her own despite Bollywood being a typical male-oriented film industry. Her emotional fallouts and dramatizing pain and disappointment are always spot on.

2. SHEFALI SHAH

A versatile actress like Shefali knows what true dedication is portraying an important character. Even in her comic stance, Shefali as Badru’s mother makes you forget for a moment that some of her scenes were funny but her funny performance converted into awkwardness while applying method acting. Out of nowhere, she tells the story of a frog and a scorpion. Asks Hamza to keep hitting his head on the wall. But she goes to another parallel when Hamza hits her or when she confesses.

3. VIJAY VARMA

The biggest responsibility of the antagonist is to create hatred for himself/herself and Vijay as Hamza does that. His physical presence is a piece of genuinely bad news for both mother and daughter. And his mental breakdown gives you a precise idea about a violent husband. It was an excellent performance.


CLOSING REMARKS

Darlings surprisingly has met immense respect from the critics and the audience. They all are entitled to their opinion. I firmly believe that Darlings has missed the chance of portraying realism about domestic abuse with a distinction that held a lot of promises due to its quality casting.

RATINGS = 4/10

Movie Review: Boyhood (2014)

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Breathing of childhood, softening of adulthood… Attempt of torture, remedy of nurture… Breaking of bond, Road to abscond…

A haunting image of child which theoretically distracts your wonders of grippiness and merriness. As the time goes by, the pursuit of happiness goes astray. You grow up with melancholy with alcohol supposedly a perfect substitute of water which may quench your soulless thirst. Dramatic and pragmatic!!

Boyhood is an absolute drama with 12 years of shooting on merely a $4 million budget!! By production, it is one of the longest movie ever shot by during of time. Most probably the holder of this unique movie-making record is by Jim Jarmusch whose ‘Coffee and Cigarettes‘ was shot in 20 years.

Coming of age, inking of page!! Lavishly simple study of a boy’s 11-year life. Beyond your expectations and approximations. The movie covers almost every major aspect connected or indirectly connected with life e.g., religion, music, camping, parenting, domestic abuse, teenage sex, breakups, cycling, use of telephone to cellphones or Apple computer to laptops, job complications, preaching, sports, or alcohol etc.

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Boyhood is like a diary of an innocent child or a ladder not built on basis of success but upon hope and expectations. Those tiny ears which desires to avoid shouting of parents, those eyes which all his 11 years anxiously wait for one eventual hurrah… Boyhood is a journey of a brother and a sister and their sibling-hood, who take emotional steps in coming years. It is an original screenplay to an utmost height that the tiny lil brother and sister actually grows up with the pace of movie from boyhood to adulthood.

The only surprising minus of the whole movie is is truly is ————— the PLOT. I am sorry to disappoint you but yes, the only thing which do not impress me is the story itself. There is nothing fresh in the story. It is daily life experience of almost everyone, some of the stories tragically reach to the lowest point but story has nothing new to tell. The plot sums up to ‘I Know Right’.

So with such an ordinary story, what is so special about the movie to invest your 165 precious minutes of life on it? Is the actual growing of kids in the movie the biggest ‘vow’ factor? Is the movie overrated with the nature of its now being the highest rated movie in metacritic with most no. of critic (49)? Why has Boyhood won 110 awards worldwide so far??

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I asked myself such critical questions and without being Newton, I realize that it is all about magnificent balance of technicality of 11-year movie-making and wonderful depiction of natural human life and behavior. The director Richard Linklater is like a philosopher and psychologist equally altogether because with every inch of grown-up scene, he defines the age of character in naturally creative and acceptable way. The mother of siblings gains and loses weight by time, even with time her breasts are augmented *oh my eyes*. Make-up, hair-styling and selection of dresses are fantastic. Dialogues have no limits, the lines vary with the situation and sounds the fittest on character of every age. Those scenes explains you life where drunk father-in-law emotionally tortures, where real father has embarrassing sex-talks with growing daughter in front of her brother, where mother breaks in tears and admitting to her son that her life was a failure, and many many more.

By cast, Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette put a heavy-muscle of acting under their belt to beautify the characters and help the movie look more palpable. Growing up kids Ellar and director’s daughter Lorelei are the soul of movie with enough credit to their acceptance of change and growth of mentality over their roles. Judging their acting skills will be naive but plotting their lifetime one-role work towards heavy pull for any nominations will equally be wrong. Background score and selection of soundtracks and their filming is journey like a walk with a whistle.

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As far as direction is concerned, I guess every award function should ignore recalling the nominations for ‘Best Director’ and blindly call Linklater’s name to the stage. To me this easily is one of director’s finest work ever. You hardly will see an inch of difference in 12-year direction as the movie was shot with an incomplete plot. The script was written every year and inspired from life experiences of participating major actors. Ethan Hawke’s character was based on his real-life father and Patricia’s role was inspired from her real-life mother. 

Boyhood reaches to viewers of all ages and is unanimously acceptable to almost every viewer. Like I said above, the movie is a study of boy’s 11-year life. It is a must-watch and coming of all ages a generation-periodic movie. The movie is a wake-up call for parents and awareness-alert for the growing and grown-up kids.

Ratings: 9.3/10

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