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It Must Be Heaven

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France · 2019
1h 37m
Director Elia Suleiman
Starring Elia Suleiman, Ali Suliman, Gael García Bernal, Stephen McHattie
Genre Comedy, Drama

Filmmaker Elia Suleiman plays himself in this droll comedy. Elia escapes his homeland of Palestine for a new life, only to find that the world he escapes to is very similar to the one he left behind.

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What are people saying?

What are critics saying?


TheWrap by Ben Croll

An easy-going film that coolly ambles forward as a series of short sketches and vignettes, while maintaining a fairly detached tone.


CineVue by Christopher Machell

A charming, deadpan study of national identities, an idiosyncratic love letter to his home and an unvarnished tribute to life’s universal absurdities.


The Hollywood Reporter by Deborah Young

Filmmaker and actor Elia Suleiman uses his own face and body to express the soul of Palestine in his films, and nowhere more so than in his droll new comedy, It Must Be Heaven.


IndieWire by Eric Kohn

This poignant, minor-key work from the only major filmmaker to carry the torch of silent comedy into the 21st century is rich with feeling, even as it enters a self-reflexive zone that sometimes distracts from the legitimate concerns at its core.


The Film Stage by Giovanni Marchini Camia

By the time Suleiman’s character finishes his world trip and returns home, all he leaves us with is the reassurance that the Palestinian people are resilient and, eventually, will be free as well. That’s a terribly lazy note to end on. Some might even call it trivializing.


Screen Daily by Lee Marshall

Audiences will likely approach the film a series of sketches linked as much by mood as by theme. Some hit the spot, two or three are laugh-out-loud funny, but others seem little more than space-fillers in a film that is both enjoyable and frustrating.


The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

There are times when the passive, elusive quality of It Must Be Heaven, as with other Suleiman films, eluded me and felt mannered and superficial, but they are stylishly made with a distinctive signature.


The Observer (UK) by Wendy Ide

Wry rather than uproarious, it’s a little uneven at times. But Suleiman is a master of slow-burning, cumulative humour; this is the kind of comedy that creeps up on you.

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