Both an appealing coming-of-age yarn and, as Monsieur Ibrahim embraces his own mortality, a heartfelt coming-of-aging saga.
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The two central performances help the lesson go down easily, and Mr. Duperyon's unassuming, slightly ragged realism gives the movie a sweet, lived-in charm. Mr. Sharif, grizzled and white-haired at 71, has lost none of the charisma that made him an international movie star in the 1960's, and Mr. Boulanger, in his first feature film, shows impressive self-assurance.
Unshaven and twinkling-eyed, Sharif is professionally light and entertaining in the title role.
Excusez-moi, but I'd rather see Omar Sharif punching out croupiers in a casino than dispensing comfort and joy in this sugared-up tale.
Omar Sharif certainly doesn't disappoint in Monsieur Ibrahim. The casting alone promises something extraordinary.
Surely there is room in the movies for a small film with an unabashed, even old-fashioned but timeless humanist spirit -- and a triumphant portrayal by a veteran star that is likely to be regarded as one of the year's best.
Unusual in its ambition to pose deep spiritual questions, but its enticing surfaces -- including the beautiful working girls and Isabelle Adjani's surprise cameo as a Bardot-esque starlet -- are the best thing about it.
The movie is sometimes profound in its simple, optimistic message of friendship -- and sometimes it's plain simple.
Maybe someday an enterprising filmmaker will make a film about this forgotten chapter in Muslim-Jewish relations. It would be a lot more compelling and memorable than the nonsense in Monsieur Ibrahim.
The script falters at the end, as the two reach the Turkish village where Ibrahim was raised. But the winning performances -- and killer '60s soundtrack -- save the day.