Brick Lane

Film, Drama
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(24user reviews)
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Director Sarah Gavron is thoroughly polite in her adaptation of Monica Ali’s much-loved novel. So polite that this graceful tale of lives lived day-by-day, millimetre-by-millimetre, comes off as oddly flat-footed and modest in its lack of drama. In Bangladesh in the ’80s, Nazneen (Tannishtha Chatterjee) is a thoughtful teenager dispatched to an east London estate to marry a frog-faced man twice her age. Skip to 2001, and Nazneen is a mother of two whose narrow world expands a little when she takes a job stitching-up clothes for the rag trade. Soon, she’s having an affair with a younger man, Karim (Christopher Simpson).

Gavron cleverly outlines the closed-in boundaries of Nazneen’s Brick Lane. She only leaves the house to shop, she tells Karim. When her teenage daughter, Shahana (Naeema Begum), storms out one evening, she chases after her, past the beered-up lads and curry houses, across to Liverpool Street. The steel and glass of the City is just a five-minute walk away from home but might as well be Gotham. The crunch comes after the attacks on the World Trade Center, amid the drum-beat for war and the backlash against Britain’s Muslims. The film is oddly timid on this point. We hear of girls having their hijabs yanked off in the street and British Bengalis being abused but we see nothing more than a rallying cry at a community meeting. Meanwhile, Nazneen’s turbulent domestic troubles come to pass with very little trouble indeed. But despite the film’s lack of energy, the warmth of Ali's characters remains: Chatterjee is watchful and expressive as Nazneen while Satish Kaushik steals the show as her husband, with his self-important fondness for quoting from the greats of philosophy and literature. Watching his Del Boy conviction that this time next year we’ll all be millionaires (or in his case promoted by his boss at the council) is awful but awfully funny. Still, you can’t help thinking the sprawl and subtleties of Ali’s novel would be better served by television.

By: Cath Clarke

Posted:

Release details

Rated:
15
Release date:
Friday November 16 2007
Duration:
102 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Sarah Gavron
Screenwriter:
Abi Morgan, Laura Jones
Cast:
Tannishtha Chatterjee
Satish Kaushik
Christopher Simpson
Harvey Virdi
Lalita Ahmed
Naeema Begum
Lana Rahman

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:8
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|24
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There was a screening in NY recently of the movie and I happened to be lucky enough to be there.I loved the movie.I thought the casting was great.


There was a screening in NY recently of the movie and I happened to be lucky enough to be there.I loved the movie.I thought the casting was great.


I do not agree with the reviewer .I saw the film in London . It is a moving tale told with honesty. It breaks cliches.I would highly recommend the film.


I do not agree with the reviewer .I saw the film in London . It is a moving tale told with honesty. It breaks cliches.I would highly recommend the film.


very moving film. Great performnace by Tannishtha Chatterjee.Is she an actress or is she really Nazneen. Could never tell.the music is haunting.Cudos to Sarah gvaron for such a sensitive first film


very moving film. Great performnace by Tannishtha Chatterjee.Is she an actress or is she really Nazneen. Could never tell.the music is haunting.Cudos to Sarah gvaron for such a sensitive first film


A bit of a disappointment although occasionally moving. I wonder what Monica Ali thinks about what the film makers have done with her truly remarkable book.


I watched this film and was disappointed. I am a Pakistani and I can appreciate these problems. This film is quite successful in showing dullness of life in Council Flats but something seems missing. Other films on Asian Community had something special even though they annoyed many from our community. Brick Lane lacked both laughters and tears and it didn't annoy anyone. The story seemed to me 'a married woman fell in love with a young guy because her husband was a boring sod. She left the guy and came back to her husband who proved to be a loser and decides to goes back home despite the fact that his family decides to stay behind'. I'LL HAVE TO READ THE BOOK NOW TO SEE IF IT WAS THE DIRECTOR WHO HAD MADE IT LIKE THIS OR THE BOOK WAS DULL TOO.


Being a Bengali, and having lived similar experiences once upon a time, this film portrayed each and every second 'as real as it gets'. Superbly portrayed and superbly acted in all its subtleties...the review has missed these. The film portrays the other side of life, behind closed doors, hardly exposed but real enough. This is not just a story, but a reality.


Being a Bengali, and having lived similar experiences once upon a time, this film portrayed each and every second 'as real as it gets'. Superbly portrayed and superbly acted in all its subtleties...the review has missed these. The film portrays the other side of life, behind closed doors, hardly exposed but real enough. This is not just a story, but a reality.


It is a beautiful film with great performances. Especailly Tannishtha Chatterjee.In todays time we have forgotten nuanced and sensitive potrayls and this the reveiwer misses the whole point. It is a not a film about 9/11 and thank God for that.It is a film about love in a stressful world of human struggle.


It is a beautiful film with great performances. Especailly Tannishtha Chatterjee.In todays time we have forgotten nuanced and sensitive potrayls and this the reveiwer misses the whole point. It is a not a film about 9/11 and thank God for that.It is a film about love in a stressful world of human struggle.


the film is much better than the book. and Tannishtha Chatterjee is great! Its such a difficult role to carry and she does so well.


the film is much better than the book. and Tannishtha Chatterjee is great! Its such a difficult role to carry and she does so well.


This film is moving and beautifully acted highly visual. A must see.


This film is moving and beautifully acted highly visual. A must see.


It takes a special kind of director to turn such a vibrant controversial book, into such a dull film. A waste of time.


very sensitively told story. Great performances especially the lead protagonsit tannishtha Chatterjee whose eye comminicates more than any6 wrods can


very sensitively told story. Great performances especially the lead protagonsit tannishtha Chatterjee whose eye comminicates more than any6 wrods can