TIFF 2013: Rock the Casbah – Capsule Review

Director: Laila Marrakchi
Writer: Laila Marrkchi
Stars: Morjana Alaoui, Nadine Labaki, Lubna Azabal, Hiam Abbas and Omar Sharif
Runtime: 100 min
Rating: 14A

A family filled with dark secrets who gather for a father’s funeral drives the film Rock the Casbah. However, even with all of the soap opera drama occuring, the film manages to be a fun escape for two hours. What is very notable about this film is the strong, nearly all-female cast, with stellar performances presented by Morjana Alaoui, Nadine Labaki, Lubna Azabal, and Hiam Abbass. The film, which tells the story of a Muslim family, surpasses common stereotypes and even gently pokes fun at them. It is refreshing to see these strong women characters who rise above their religious and cultural stigmas, as the lead character Sofia (Morjana Alaoui) is a rebellious daughter who stands up to her family’s traditional approaches. With beautiful cinematography, taking place in Morocco, the film is always gorgeous to look at. Filled with humour and realness, the characters are people to whom anyone can relate. As the plot delves on, it does reach dramatic heights, which can feel a little bit like daytime television; however, the film intrigues enough to make it work. It does become a bit predictable, but it is easy to disregard this flaw in the face of the vibrancy of the characters on-screen; the film may have its sentimentality and cheesiness, but you buy into it. Rock the Casbah is fun and light even with the dark places the plot visits, and it is an enjoyable watch.

Overall Score: 3.5/5

Photo Credit: Toronto International Film Festival