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75. Layla Majnun; movie review

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Title : 75. Layla Majnun; movie review
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Cert 12
119 mins
BBFC advice: Contains suicide references, threat, violence

Do you remember those love-at-first-sight melodramatic non-sweary Hollywood romances of the 40s and 50s?
Well, they might have long disappeared from mainstream distribution in the UK but world cinema still revels in them.
This take comes from Indonesia but is adapted from the legendary story from the northern Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century.
Yep, watching movies really does expand knowledge.
The modern-day Layla is played by Acha Septriasa, a beauty who appears to have a transfixed smile even when under great stress.
She is a teacher in Indonesia and has carved herself an independent life which also includes being an author of an acclaimed book.
But, despite her success, her family take it upon themselves to organise what they believe to be a suitable husband (Baim Wong).
She likes the guy because he was a former childhood friend and he persuades her to promise to go ahead with the wedding but only after she fulfils a two-week teaching assignment in Azerbaijan.
Not even a day has passed after her arrival abroad when a fellow academic (Reza Rahadian) has begun a rather elaborate courtship.
Consequently, within hours Layla has fallen in love.
This speed is my main beef with Monty Tiwa's film - perhaps I am just too cold-hearted to accept that love springs quite so easily but it seems all Samir has to do is be nice to her and show her around his home town of Baku.
By the way, I have never considered a holiday in Azerbaijan's capital but it looks rather spectacular.
I digress.
After the fastest captured heart in history, Layla is left with a conundrum - does she break a promise to her betrothed in Indonesia to go off with the bloke who she has only just met?
Obviously, the push-me-pull-you causes angst for all three parties and seeking an unlikely resolution becomes the movie's focus.
Unfortunately, there is barely a step which I haven't seen in eternal triangle movies before and the acting is a tad stiff.
But, as said, its backdrops are unusual and attractive, so it wasn't an entirely wasted two hours.

Reason to watch: Gentle love story
Reasons to avoid: Very slow going

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 5/10

Did you know? 
In 2010 the Azerbaijan University of Languages (AUL) established the Center of Indonesian Studies. This institution promotes the understanding and study of the Indonesian language and culture for Azerbaijani students. 

The final word. Monty Tiwa: "The storyline in this film itself is a free adaptation, but it must not violate the spirit of the original story written by Nizami Ganja." Line Today

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