The Antidote to Eat Pray Love
CAIRO TIME (2009/IN THEATERS) Patricia Clarkson is always wonderful and delivers yet again in this film as Juliette Grant, the lead character in Cairo Time. Clarkson gives us a portrait of quite a different traveler than did Liz Gilbert/Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love—Juliette Grant is classy, quiet and observant, even if a little overwhelmed and lost at times. She’s in Cairo for a nice vacation with her husband—a U.N. worker based in Gaza—but as the film opens she is met at the airport by her husband’s former colleague Tareq (ruggedly handsome Alexander Siddig) who tells her that her husband is unavoidably delayed. Tareq offers to be of assistance while she waits as they part company at the hotel. What follows might remind you of a much slower and more languid version of Lost in Translation – Cairo is lovely, but quite foreign. We see Juliette in her upscale hotel, looking out at the city from her balcony, sleepless or over-sleeping thanks to jet lag, walking the streets of this exotic city while surrounded by aggressive Egyptian men, and ultimately turning back to Tareq to help her pass the days of waiting and get in touch with Cairo and its customs. As what feels like a week goes by, she spends more time with Tareq and a quiet love develops. I won’t reveal any more than this except to say: what a lovely film–not a lot of plot but plenty of character development, all of which feels meaningful and real. The director, Ruba Nadda, is well known in Canada but I confess I had never heard of her. She says on IMDB that the movie is a tribute to her family’s journey and vacation in Cairo when she was a child and her memories of its beauty. This film will definitely make you want to eat, pray, love and travel.