Chicago International Film Festival 2012 Meeting Leila Directed by: Adel Yaraghi Cast: Bahareh Rahmana, Leila Yatani Running Time: 1 hr 28 mins Rating: NR Release Date: TBD
PLOT: Before he gets married, a man (Rahmana) who creates commercial ideas must give up chain-smoking or lose his wife (Hatami).
WHO'S IT FOR? Those who want to see what else Hatami can do (other than A Separation), and those who like movies that are thoroughly simple.
Meeting Leila is the type of light comedy that is too thin — however cute it wants to be, it could be blown over by the even the friendliest of breezes. At the most, it's admirably daring to tackle a story concept as simple as this, especially as many scenes rely on male lead Rahmana dealing with one question — "Can I smoke another cigarette without my fiancee noticing?"
The film has two good performances, from Rahmana and Hatami, who some might remember from last year's Oscar-winning film A Separation. Though her purpose in the movie is to be a supportive but stern force in her fiance's life, she does display some sweetness in this role, especially in scenes in which she directly interacts with her husband, and they try to have an understanding. These are the moments that the movie is made for — other scenes simply do not work, especially in regards to camera work that utilizes odd long takes much more for economic purpose over anything efficiently artistic.
Co-written by Abbas Kiarostami, Meeting Leila is a silly little movie with an original concept, but its lack of significant laughter or even compelling cinematic storytelling isn't enough to convince us that it shouldn't have been a short-and-sweet short instead.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10