Watched 'Sabah' - a cute love story made in Englsish, in Canada, and directed by Ruba Nadda. The film is about a Muslim family that has migrated to Canada several years ago and are western in all the things they do, except for the strong thread of tradition that is kept alive by the son, Majid.
The movie begins with Sabah's 40th birthday celebrations. Sabah, is a 40 year old woman whose main job is taking care of her old and ailing mother. Her brother Majid is a married man, who imposes traditional values on his family, despite not following them himself. He is married to a Canadian Muslim girl, but he refuses when his niece, another sister's daughter, wants to marry out of her choice. The family feels that their father, when he was alive was less conservative and more western and progressive in his outlook than Majid. Majid does not even approve of swimming, falling in love, meeting non-Muslims, even spending his father's money on his sisters and 40 year old Sabah has to give him an account of her spending as well.
Sabah receives a birthday gift of an old photograph of her and her father who went swimming when she was small. She wants to swim again and surreptitiously starts swimming a neighbouring pool. It is fun to see her initial reluctance to swim in a public pool, her clothes, her obsession to cover herself and how she gradually changes an becomes more confident. At the pool she meets a handsome, divorced carpenter and they fall in love. However Sabah leads a double life, telling lies at home while meeting Stephen and not being entirely honest with Stephen either.
Her modern niece Soulhaire is meeting Muslim boys arranged by her brother Majid against her wishes and Sabah helps her get out of one of those arranged meetings. The niece finds out her aunt's love story, teaches her belly dancing and helps her out. On the other hand Sabah discovers that he brother Majid's wife is having an affair with her Arabic tutor. Sabah stays back one night with Stephen when she realises that she must indeed take control of her life, make her choices and live. When the family questions her the next day, she tells them the truth. The brother promptly tells her to go out, she no longer belongs to the family. She walks out to Stephen.
Stephen is delighted. The women of the household revolt. Majid's wife walks out on him due to his overbearing ways. The old Mom decides to meet Stephen, as do her other daughter and daughter-in-law - and they all like him. Sabah meets her isolated brother to tell him that he is not responsible for their lives at all. He says that he had been supporting the whole family despite the fact that his father's inheritance had run out many years ago and he was now bankrupt. Sabah is shocked. Why, she asks. But Majid had made a promise he would take care of his family. Sabah and the family rallies behind ajid and they all live a happy and normal life again. Soulhaire also finds Mustafa, the boy that Majid had fixed for her, worthy of falling in love. The family accepts Stephen. Majid's wife returns to him. Alls well and that ends well.
Sabah is nice and cute. I never saw a romance of 40 year olds played out so tenderly and diffidently. Very real and very warm. I enjoyed the movie which was light hearted, warm and still made many points about cultures and traditions.