Absorbing enough, moving enough, and visually attractive enough to provide a perfectly acceptable night out at the movies.
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Certainly touching, even heart-rending at times, and it mostly steers clear of the didacticism and sentimentality its subject matter often invites. But it never takes the full measure of its modest heroine, and makes her world a bit too small.
Brick Lane has been whittled down from Monica Ali's expansive 2003 novel into a glossy but overly efficient drama that, like Nazneen's husband, is ultimately too ineffectual to make much of a dent.
Well-acted and grounded in reality, Brick Lane is never overly emotional, even when it deals with the days after 9/11.
Beautifully acted and written so its themes are touched upon glancingly rather than with full force.
Wraps a sari around the kind of suffering-housewife picture that became a cliché 30 years ago.
Restrained and decorous to a fault.
For most of the movie, we feel as trapped as she does, and the lurching narrative seems anything but novelistic.
Monica Ali's elegant and critically trumpeted debut novel, Brick Lane, about the travails, conflicting emotions and quiet liberation of a Muslim woman in London, is a far lesser thing in its bigscreen transformation.
Brick Lane comes far too late to be groundbreaking, and tries to do too much to be fully coherent, but its talent for avoiding obvious choices on all fronts, narratively and stylistically, make it worth a look.