‘Where Do We Go Now?’ Movie Review
If your town was split between two religions, and your fathers and sons, brothers and husbands were dying every day in petty squabbles fueled by hate from the outside world, to what lengths would you go for peace? In Nadine Labaki’s brilliant new film, Where Do We Go Now?, the Christian and Muslim women of an unnamed village in the Middle East employ every trick in the book to keep their men and boys safe from each other, to results that are both hilarious and heart-wrenching.
To compare the movie to the Lysistrata, the ancient Greek story of women who denied their husbands sex in order to keep them from going to war, wouldn’t be a stretch, although Labaki takes the concept to much darker places than the comedic play. She is very much aware of the sensitive nature of her subject matter, and there is at no times any disrespect to either religion, yet she does ask the audience to think about whether worshipping different gods is ever a justification for violence.
To the women in her story, it most certainly is not. Muslim or Christian, they are friends; they’ve lived together, worked together, gossiped together, raised children together, and buried loved ones together. They are not about to let the delicate peace they’ve instilled in their village be unraveled when news of nearby fighting reaches them. They band together, first by simply distracting the men from the news broadcasts, then by faking a miracle, and then later by hiring a group of Russian prostitutes to come to the village to give the men something else to think about.
But hate always leaks through and when it does, it brings tragedy that either tears people apart or forces them to find their inner strength. The women must find a way to change the minds of their men forever, to make them love their enemies as much as they love their friends.
I can’t say enough about this film. It is gorgeous from start to finish. Filmed on location in Lebanon with many local townspeople portraying key roles, and inspired by Labaki’s love for her own son, it paints a hope-filled picture of a world we usually only see on the news. Yes, there are tears and heart-breaks, but there are also songs and dancing and love. Seeing this movie may just change the way you view some who think differently, act differently or worship differently.
Where Do We Go Now? comes out in limited release today, May 11th.