Not Without My Daughter

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Not Without My Daughter
Not without my daughter.jpg
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
ISBN 9782876451308
Starring Sally Field
Alfred Molina
Sheila Rosenthal
Roshan Seth
Sarah Badel
Mony Rey
Georges Corraface
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Peter Hannan
Edited by Terry Rawlings
Ofer Bedarshi (video)
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates January 11, 1991
Running time 116 min.
Country United States
Language English
Persian
Budget $22 million
Box office $14,789,113

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, Turkey 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. The film has been criticized for its alleged misrepresentation of Iranians and of Iranian culture.

Plot[edit]

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.[1]

An Iranian physician, Sayed Bozorg "Moody" Mahmoody wants to move to Iran with his American family. He claims that his Iranian family wants 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 to 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 Quran".

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 since she is married to an Iranian. In Iran she has no parental rights over her daughter.

Knowing that her chances of escape are minuscule, Betty conforms to her husband's wishes in order 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 from where they would be able to reach the US Embassy.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

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.[1]

Release[edit]

Box office[edit]

The movie debuted poorly and grossed less than $15 million in ticket sales.[2] The movie plummeted in its second week.[3]

Controversy and criticism[edit]

Not Without My Daughter has been criticized for its alleged misrepresentation of Muslim Iranians and of their culture.[4] 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".[5] 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".[4] 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."[6]

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.[7]

As of 2014, the film currently holds a 47% rating based on 15 reviews. [8] Sally Field was nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress of 1991, where she lost to Sean Young for A Kiss Before Dying. Sheila Rosenthal, meanwhile, won the Young Artist Award for Best Actress.[citation needed]

References[edit]

External links[edit]