Critically acclaimed Malaysian Film maker Yasmin Ahmad’s latest offering, Muallaf (The Convert) takes a different approach from her previous films that were autobiographical in nature, and explores the possibilities of coming to terms with emotions after traumatic childhood experiences.
Muallaf tells the story of how two Muslim sisters escape from the mistreatment by their wealthy father, to live in an apparently haunted bungalow only with fond memories of their late mother, a profound collection of books and knowledge of religion.
Played by real life sisters Sharifah Amani and Sharifah Aleysha, the chemistry between the girls in the film cannot get any more natural. They befriend a schoolteacher who develops an interest in the determined and charismatic personalities of the sisters.
They reveal dark secrets of their past and together embark on a journey to find solace and hope.
In typical Yasmin fashion, the film is peppered with extended scenes and cutaways but more noticeably, contradictions in Malaysian culture.
Many scenes with main action essentially taking place in the background require the audience to literally look at the big picture to fully comprehend. Muallaf portrays the realness of the characters in relation to issues like religious faith, perceptions, and the lack of willingness to think out of the box.
Despite stirring controversial issues with the Malaysian media, the film aces in the creative and technical sense. The only downsides are the usage of too many quotes, which became a little annoying. Certain actors also seemed to read off the script. Ultimately, if you are looking for something that truly reflects on humanity and life, catch Muallaf to learn about hope, love and forgiveness