THE PERSIAN VERSION – Review by T. J. Callahan

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The Persian Version: “Don’t be so American.”

The Persian Version is a true story, sort of. It’s Iranian-American writer/director Maryam Keshavarz’s version of the immigrant story she always wanted to see. In the same vein as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Joy Luck Club or more recently The Farewell, this film is The Persian Version of old world vs new world.

Layla Mohammadi plays Leila, the all American New York girl trying to balance her pop culture existence with the Muslim society of her immigrant parents. Not surprisingly, she and her mother, Shireen ( Niousha Noor), don’t quite see eye to eye and have become estranged. When the whole family comes together after their patriarch’s heart transplant, secrets and scandals are revealed leaving mother and daughter realizing they are more alike than they thought.

No matter where we come from, we all really have the same dreams and goals for our families and the same issues among us. There’s a cultural divide in more ways than one and Keshavarz explores her world through an emotional roller coaster of laughter, tears, grit, determination and, of course, food and dancing.

Maryam Keshavarz should be proud of her portrayal of her culture and the women in it. The Persian Version is her empowerment film. It’s her homage to the strong Iranian females still fighting for their rights in their own way. The men are on the backburner. Just know this film is two stories in one that bounce back and forth, mostly seamlessly, between each other.

Expect subtitles as well as an entertaining ensemble cast with a hint of I Love Lucy. IYKYK

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T. J. Callahan

Texas Radio Hall of Fame broadcaster, T.J. Callahan switched gears from traffic and news reporting as a member of the Marconi Award winning Hudson and Harrigan Show on KILT in Houston to directing you to the right movie theatre as the resident film critic for Houston Radio Platinum and 101 Gold , Southern New Mexico's favorite radio station. Since 2009, T.J. has exclusively critiqued premiering films on such stations as KRMD in Shreveport, La., KILT in Houston, WCKT in Sarasota, Fla., as well as on The Chris X Blayney Show on The Liberty Eagle Radio Network and The Sam Malone Show on KNTH in Houston. Entertaining and informative, T.J. gets right to the point and lets you know whether the latest epic is worth your time. Listen to her Friday and Saturdays on and on Friday afternoons on the Leslie T. Travis Show on KVLC FM in Las Cruces. T.J. is also a proud member of the Critics Choice Association and the Houston Film Critics Society. She truly believes everything in life is one degree of Blazing Saddles.