Beyond Honor

BOOGIE NIGHTS Osuna, right, digs the secular life.
BOOGIE NIGHTS Osuna, right, digs the secular life.

Time Out says

In a story that will win no fans among Islamic antidefamation groups, Beyond Honor focuses on Sahira (Osuna), a Los Angeles medical student living with her observant Muslim family—particularly a monstrously overbearing father (Andrawis), who monitors her schedule, turns a blind eye to his son’s indiscretions and blithely rapes his wife (Melagrano). Still, Sahira’s an increasingly secular adult, and she and her non-Muslim boyfriend (Jason David Smith) eventually manage to hit a bar, bringing about her first tequila shot, her first puff of weed and from a friend, the question “So. Are you going to do it with him tonight?”

Forget med school. With dialogue like that, it’s a wonder these kids survived high school. But just when you think you’re watching the most clueless simulacrum of human behavior since Saved by the Bell, Beyond Honor reveals itself to be—no kidding—a treatise on female genital mutilation. The sudden didacticism proves extremely unwelcome, not only because first-time director Varun Khanna wields slow motion like a blunt instrument, and not just because, as the closing credits acknowledge, genital mutilation is a social custom, not an Islamic practice. The sudden seriousness also casts a pall over the unintentional humor that precedes it, including a med-school drama teacher’s (?!?) unforgettable monologue recalling the time his wife drowned their newborn. On nearly every level, Beyond Honor is beyond appalling. (Opens Fri; Village East.)—Ben Kenigsberg



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