Not Without My Daughter

Not Without My Daughter is a fact-based thriller about an American housewife who finds herself virtually trapped in Tehran when she accompanies her Iranian husband on a vacation to his native country — and he decides to relocate the family to his homeland. In late 1970s Iran, Islamic leaders rallied for change to get rid of increasing westernization and get back to their religious ideals, which resulted in the beginning of the Iranian revolution. After the 1979 revolution deposed the Shah, Iran became an Islamic state, and still is. Although Betty (Sally Field) feared going to Iran, she still went against her better judgment — a classic example of a wife loving her husband and wanting to please him. Betty has come to the Middle East with her daughter and native-born Iranian husband nicknamed ‘Moody’ (Alfred Molina) for a visit with his family. But soon the horrible truth about their vacation surfaces. Betty’s husband doesn’t intend to bring his family back to America…ever. She may return, he says, but their daughter must stay. And he has centuries of local custom and the oppressive might of a police state behind him. As a stranger in a foreign land, Betty has no money, no friends and no rights. But she does have an unconquerable will. In a hostile, war-torn country, where even the slightest misstep can mean death, she makes a desperate bid to escape with her child. Not Without My Daughter is a riveting true story of terror and escape. This movie kept me on the edge of my seat. I could only imagine what she must have gone through, being with someone you trust to have them turn against you while you are on their grounds and miles from home or anyone who knows you. The betrayal itself must have been excruciating and terrifying. What shocked me the most is how the movie showed that it is okay for a Muslim to beat his wife in private and public and how the society accept it. Betty should have researched things a little further before marrying into a different culture and religion. This woman’s courage and faith keeps her strong through this horrific journey of risking her own life in order to bring with her most precious treasure, her daughter. Her determination is so inspiring! Sally Fields conveyed so much strength and conviction. It opened my eyes as to how easily something like this could happen to an unsuspecting and trusting person. My reaction to this movie at first viewing was that I became angry and ill at the same time. The horror of someone taking over your life in this manner is scary and nightmarish. I cried when I saw the American flag in the end. This brought to my attention something that I never realized existed. We have so many freedoms in America that women do not enjoy throughout the world. I thought it was a great awareness film. I recommend this when you want to raise your awareness of other cultures and laws. The movie is realistic in that it shows other Iranians that did not share the ultra-religious political views of Moody’s family, like the enlightened Iranian man and woman who volunteered to help Betty and her daughter escape from Iran. Also a shopkeeper was willing to risk his life assisting Betty and her daughter to get out of the bad situation they were in — and gave them money to facilitate their escape, with no expectation of being reimbursed. While it is true that after the revolution Iran became, and still is, an Islamic state, there are many Iranians who are extremely dissatisfied with the loss of individual freedoms. So do not lump everyone in Iran, or any other Muslim-dominated culture, in with the radical elements of Islam. Not everyone in Iran is like this. Throughout the movie it is stated that Moody’s family was uneducated and backwards. This would be like taking a trailer-trash family in America, exaggerated to the point where they look like Neanderthals, and then present it to the world claiming this is what an average American family is like. This is a really good movie. I never thought I’d like it, but it was truly amazing and sad. Great movie, so don’t hesitate to watch it. The first time I saw this movie was in junior high school for a class assignment. While everyone else was complaining about having to sit though an “educational” movie, I was delighted with it. This movie was the best thriller I have watched. The terror of what was happening to them was so vivid. Well-written, well-acted, and had me literally on the edge of my seat the whole time.  This movie had me glued to my screen. It was scary, but very informational and entertaining as well. I would recommend this movie to all.I think everyone in American should watch it. I can watch this over and over and never grow tired of this movie! It is sooo good. Great movie! I have also read the book, and it too was amazing. I loved the book and the movie. A Must See Film. Docudrama 1991 PG-13 1hr 55m.

Link to see photos of the real people this story is based on.

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