Michael Ward on Friday, May 18



The Charmer is a fascinating, and occasionally frustrating, tale of Esmail (Ardalan Esmaili), an Iranian immigrant in Denmark, who toils away in bars and social gatherings looking for a woman to not only become his girlfriend, but also grant him the opportunity to earn citizenship and remain in the country.

Milad Alami’s film has some surprises along the way and Esmaili’s performance is terrific. However, the film veers into repetitiveness and one subplot comes with a giant plot hole that we, as viewers, simply cannot ignore.

And yet, this is a story that looks at immigration in a unique and clever way. The Charmer says quite a lot about the difficulty in the decisions immigrants make when choosing to attempt to relocate elsewhere, acclimate, and blend in. While Esmail’s approach seems disingenuous on a lot of levels, we recognize that he seems compelled to run from things both spoken and unspoken, defendable and unexplainable.

The final 20 minutes will definitely provoke a response and, in totality, I found a lot to like here, even if the movie never quite patches up some of the holes it creates along the way

Starring: Ardalan Esmaili, Lars Brygmann, Stine Fischer Christensen, Austa Lea Jespersen
DIrector: Milad Alami
Running Time: 100 Minutes

May 18 | SIFF Cinema Uptown | 4:00 PM
May 27 | Pacific Place | 9:00 PM
June 6 | SIFF Cinema Uptown | 9:00 PM