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The Insult(L'Insulte)

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France, Cyprus, Belgium · 2017
Rated R · 1h 53m
Director Ziad Doueiri
Starring Adel Karam, Kamel El Basha, Rita Hayek, Christine Choueiri
Genre Crime, Drama

Tony is a deeply religious Lebanese Christian who believes that all Palestinians should leave “his” country. One day, Tony gets into a heated exchange with a Palestinian refugee, which ends in a lawsuit. This seemingly petty lawsuit quickly gains national attention in this tense film that earns its place among the top courtroom dramas.

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What are critics saying?


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

There is something undeniably exhilarating about the film’s honest assessment of the never-ending conflict between decency and cruelty that rages in every nation, neighborhood and heart.


The New Yorker by Anthony Lane

As a study of inflammation in the body politic, The Insult is engaged and astute. In comparison with “West Beirut,” though, it seems oddly programmatic in its moral layout, designed to prove that, in Wajdi’s phrase, “no one has a monopoly on suffering.” Some viewers will emerge from the cinema feeling more schooled than stirred.


The Hollywood Reporter by Boyd van Hoeij

A highly political movie that's also a personal story of two men going head-to-head while the women around them are left to pick up the pieces, this gorgeously shot and classily acted feature might be a reel too long but is nonetheless a fascinating piece of work.


IndieWire by Eric Kohn

While it doesn’t quite justify the sprawling courtroom antics or the blunt metaphor they entail, the movie nevertheless provides a profound look at the effect of historical trauma on modern Lebanese society.


The Film Stage by Jared Mobarak

How Joelle Touma’s script progresses is heavy-handed in its desire to augment the tensions and provide justifications, but it’s still powerful nonetheless.


Variety by Jay Weissberg

Toward the end, Doueiri attempts to give his two leads a little more nuance, but Tony’s overwhelming anger steamrolls over occasional conciliatory behavior, which winds up feeling just manipulative.


CineVue by John Bleasdale

The film can't be faulted for its attempt to argue for some kind of humane kinship and reconciliation, even if this attempt ends up dissolving the enmity in a sentimentality that, given what has come before, strains credibility.

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