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Desert Flower

Submitted by Commandrea on April 2, 2024 – 3:15 pmNo Comment

How do you make a feel good film about clitorechtomy? You don’t really and so Desert Flowers vacillates between wacky British actors hamming it up and blood stained flashbacks of a young Somali girl undergoing a barbaric ritual. After a brief introduction in Somali the story moves to London where a beautiful refugee (Liya Kebede) finds work as a janitor of sorts.
Barely speaking English she’s befriended by Sally Hawkins (in her full-on happy-go-lucky mode). Another stranger (Timothy Spall) sees her sweeping at a coffee shop and helps to get her career in fashion modeling started. Anthony Mackie and Juliet Stevenson also co-star.
Desert Flower is based on the biography of Waris Dirie and Kebede finds all the right expressions and emotions to depict the plight of a woman who has no real country and yet becomes a UN spokesperson to the world. Desert Flower juggles a lot of searing issues and mixing the humorous asides of her companions doesn’t always keep the balance of the story in focus.
One particularly jarring moment occurs early on when Waris still doesn’t have proper command of English and we witness an orderly translating good news from a doctor as bad news to her ears. In the end Desert Flower triumphs over adversity but not before the audience gets a tough lesson in cultural diversity. Desert Flower is in an exclusive engagement at the Edwards Grand Palace.

- Michael Bergeron

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