Not Without My Daughter
|Not Without My Daughter|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brian Gilbert|
|Produced by||Harry J. Ufland|
|Screenplay by||David W. Rintels|
|Based on||Not Without My Daughter by
Betty Mahmoody and William Hoffer
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Editing by||Terry Rawlings
Ofer Bedarshi (video)
|Release dates||January 11, 1991|
|Running time||116 min.|
Not Without My Daughter is a film released in 1991 depicting the escape of American citizen Betty Mahmoody and her daughter from her husband in Iran. The film was shot in the United States and Israel, and the main characters Betty Mahmoody and Sayed Bozorg "Moody" Mahmoody are played by Sally Field and Alfred Molina, respectively. Sheila Rosenthal and Roshan Seth star as Mahtob Mahmoody and Houssein the smuggler, respectively.
In 1984, Betty Mahmoody's husband took his wife and daughter to meet his family in Iran. He swore they would be safe. They would be happy. They would be free to leave. He lied.
An Iranian physician, Sayed Bozorg "Moody" Mahmoody desires to move to Iran with his American family. He claims that his Iranian family want to meet his wife Betty and daughter Mahtob, and asks them to come with him for a two week visit. Despite her deep fears about visiting Iran, Betty reluctantly agrees.
When in Tehran, Moody announces his wife that he wishes for them to stay in Iran. Betty has been deceived by her husband, even though Moody took an oath that they would return to America, swearing "on the sacred Koran". Moody becomes hostile and abusive, preventing her from leaving the house or using the telephone. Betty briefly manages to visit the American Interests Section of the Swiss Embassy, but is told that she is now an Iranian citizen for being married to an Iranian. In Iran she has no parental rights on her daughter.
Knowing that her chances of escape are minimal, Betty conforms to her husband's wishes, to gain the trust of Moody and his family. By chance she contacts a humanitarian Iranian, Hossein (Seth), who helps Betty and Mahtob in their passage back to America. Moody approves of Betty returning to see her dying father, but will not let Mahtob go with her.
Finally, Hossein manages to send Betty and Mahtob off with some Iranian smugglers, and using fake identity documents, they make their way past the checkpoints. Despite the difficult and very dangerous journey, Betty and Mahtob are dropped off in Turkey, where they can reach the US Embassy.
- Sally Field as Betty Mahmoody
- Alfred Molina as Sayed Borzog "Moody" Mahmoody
- Sheila Rosenthal as Mahtob
- Roshan Seth as Houssein the Smuggler
- Sarah Badel as Nicole
- Mony Rey as Ameh Bozorg
- Georges Corraface as Mohsen
The movie was based on a book with the same title, written by Betty Mahmoody and William Hoffer and based on Betty's version of events. The screenplay was written by David W. Rintels. The film was directed by Brian Gilbert and filmed in Ankara, Turkey, at GG Studios, Neve Ilan, Israel and in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Controversy and criticism
Not Without My Daughter has been criticized for its perceived misrepresentation of and bias towards Iran, Iranian Muslims and Iranian culture. Caryn James of The New York Times, in a review, states that the movie "exploits the stereotype of the demonic Iranian...it is an utter artistic failure, and its reliance on cultural stereotype is a major cause". Moody, she writes, seems to be a "pure product of his culture, a mysterious, misogynist Easterner...the film views fanaticism as the Iranian national character". A review in the Los Angeles Times described the movie as "unbalanced and distorted" which "fails to distinguish between the (Iranian) state and the people". In his review, film critic Roger Ebert noted the film made "moral and racial assertions that are deeply troubling" and that it "does not play fair with its Muslim characters. If a movie of such a vitriolic and spiteful nature were to be made in America about any other ethnic group, it would be denounced as racist and prejudiced."
In response to Not Without My Daughter, a Finnish documentary, titled Without My Daughter was made by director Alexis Kouros. It is composed of interviews with Dr. Mahmoody regarding his life in Iran and attempts to contact his daughter Mahtob. Kouros said that the intention of the 90-minute documentary was to "show the lies in the American film and present the real story behind" what turned into an acrimonious custody battle for Mahtob Mahmoody.
The movie was released to generally mixed reviews, as Sally Field was nominated for the Worst Actress, while Sheila Rosenthal won the Young Artist Award for Best Actress.
- IMDb, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102555/
- "Home Alone in 9th Week as No. 1 Film : Movies: 'Godfather Part III' takes dramatic slide from second to sixth place in its third week out. 'Awakenings' is in second.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- "'Home Alone' Fends Off Yet Another 'Intruder' : Box Office: Vietnam War film opens to mediocre business as comedy remains on top for 10th week. After four weeks of release, 'Godfather Part III' drops to 12th.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
- Seeing and Believing: Religion and Values in the Movies - by Margaret R. Miles, p71
- Caryn James, Embrace the Stereotype; Kiss the Movie Goodbye, The New York Times, January 27, 1991, Accessed August 15, 2009.
- Not Without My Daughter (review), rogerebert.com, January 11, 1991, Accessed August 15, 2009.
- Finnish documentary counters anti-Iran propaganda in US film
- Not Without My Daughter at the Internet Movie Database
- Not Without My Daughter at Rotten Tomatoes
- Not Without My Daughter - History vs. Hollywood
- Not Without My Daughter clip
- A criticism of Not Without My Daughter