By Andrea K. Hammer
The movie Brick Lane, based on the best-selling novel by Monica Ali, follows a young Bangladeshi woman in the midst of self-discovery.
Introvert Initially Trapped in an Arranged Marriage
As the shy Nazneen initially trapped in an arranged marriage, actress Tannishtha Chatterjee captures the introvert’s struggle to voice her opinions. From differences with her authoritative husband Chanu (Satish Kaushik) to continual reminders about her subservient position, the actress powerfully conveys her character’s inner turmoil. With equal expressiveness, Tannishtha Chatterjee blooms as she starts to earn money from sewing work and becomes involved with Karim (Christopher Simpson) who delivers piles of jeans and sequined dresses in symbolic need of repair.
Poetic Quality in Scenes Catching the Light From Director Sarah Gavron
Under the creative hand of talented first-time director Sarah Gavron, the material literally catches the light. A simple scene showing the casting of a fishing net takes on a poetic quality–eliciting a gasp of awe from entranced viewers. The skillful treatment of childhood flashbacks with Nazneen’s sister are seamlessly interwoven as key elements in the unfolding of this tale. As director Sarah Gavron explains during an interview in the extras, she approaches her work as a storyteller, which she masters in this visually stunning film.
Disconnects and Sudden Jumps in Tale Leave Viewers Puzzled
However, a disconnect in the tale revolves around Nanzeen’s constant longing to return home and the actual outcome when the opportunity finally arises. The change in feelings for her husband also occurs suddenly and is not fully developed.
Consequently, the surprising ending leaves viewers puzzled about several leaps from A to Z. Although Tannishtha Chaterjee has clearly shown Nanzeen’s growth into independent womanhood including the ability to express true desires–as her daughter urges–the conclusion does not add up.
Questions for Film Viewers and Book Lovers
As the credits roll and thoughts about Brick Lane linger, the question about how couples decide to handle different desires hovers. What are your thoughts and reactions to the ending of this film?
What did you think of the movie Brick Lane versus the best-selling novel by Monica Ali?