Let it Be Morning: Underwhelming Drama has Good Performances

2.5 out of 5 stars (decent)

Let It Be Morning is a film with a great small-scale dramatic premise that it doesn’t push far enough.  It’s solid on the technical side of things with good performances and direction as well as some effective moments of humor, but a lack of overarching tension on its main idea and underwhelming payoff make it a film that promises big and can’t quite deliver.  It’s not a bad movie by any stretch, but it’s one where the characters and performances carried me along more than the story.

Sami (Alex Bakri) is a successful businessman in Jerusalem doing his best to get through the wedding of his brother Aziz (Samer Bisharat) and his newlywed Lina (Yara Elham Jarrar).  After the festivities end, Sami packs his wife Mira (Juna Suleiman) and son Adam (Maruan Hamdan) in the car for home, only to be stopped at the town’s exit by a military blockade.  With zero explanation as to why they’ve been blocked in and nowhere else to go, Sami and his family board up with the newlyweds, their father Tarek (Salim Daw), and mother Zahera (Izabel Ramadan) until the blockade is let down, while unresolved dramas tear down at the family unit and town at large.

Let it Be Morning is an odd duck of a film.  Billed as a comedy-drama, the film doesn’t play up the intensity of the situation or the potential humor that could be found in the familial dysfunction enough, but the performances kept me going to the end.  The movie is at its best when the characters are airing their grievances openly and when we see the townspeople becoming more frustrated at their situation.  The moments of levity feel natural, but I wish they’d either had more of them or played up more of the situational drama.

Bakri and Suleiman do well as a married couple on the rocks and the resolution of their subplot was most satisfying out of everything going on, but it could have been even better if the film had focused itself around this conflict.  The effect of the military blockade preventing all outside help is felt occasionally, but should have been a more isolating presence.  The biggest misstep comes with an underwhelming conclusion to the main conflict after the family dramas were wrapped up.  It’s not bad, but it could have been better.  Let it Be Morning is a well-acted but strangely underwhelming drama that doesn’t reach its full potential.

The Film is Not Rated

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