I have wanted to see this movie ever since its posters appeared on the Metro stations in the city. That was some time ago – 2 or 3 years and I just managed to see it tonight , though not in the cinema but on my PC.
The first scenes really got me in the mood of the movie as we see how the Mouses (a 16 year old boy played by Pierre Boulanger) observes the prostitutes who happen to work just across the street. Such scenes may appall some viewers, but that in fact is a rather typical setting in almost every big city in Europe and elsewhere.
Mouses ( or Momo ) practices his pick up lines in front of the mirror. Things like “It’s hot one.” to “How much?” and decides to try his luck with the girls using the money he saved since he was 8 or 9. Around that time we are introduced to the second lead character of the movie: Monsieur Ibrahim an old Muslim shopkeeper who is commonly known as the “Arab” as his store stays open the hours when others are closed.
(Where I live, there are similar stores only here they are run by people from China) At first it doesn’t appear that Momo and the old shop keeper have anything in common. they have different religions Momo is Jewish and Monsieur Ibrahim is Muslim and they have different backgrounds one being Spanish and the other an Arab. And to make matters worse, Momo is even shoplifting from the store ran by the Monsieur Ibrahim. (Who by the way is played by the well known Omar Sherif ) .
Monsieur Ibrahim knows that Momo steals from him but he cares too much for the boy which becomes obvious when he says, “Better you should steal here, than somewhere you could get into real trouble.” Later on he becomes a role model of Momo providing him with guidance and handy advice. The boy needs his mentoring as guidence and understanding does not exist at home. At least that is my impression after seeing the way his father talks with him.
My first impressions of the Mouses father wasn`t very positive – although he appears to be a hard working man he was rather indifferent to his son who cleaned the house and even cooked for him after his mother left them.
In quite a few reviews of this movie I found online Momo is compared with the Antoine Doinel , the character of The 400 Blows – while indeed there are some similarities, both boys seek understanding and guidance, I did not find this such a strong connection between their characters .
The acting by the two leads is very good as the movie relies largely on them to carry the film for most part. I really liked the performance of the young Pierre Boulanger in the role of Momo, he seems perfectly fit for the role of the young teenager who explores and learns about surviving in the adult world he is thrust into. While I am not that familiar with the previous roles of Omar Sharif, he was outstanding as an old man who is more then willing to share his knowledge and wisdom with someone who will appreciate it and benefit from it.
The soundtrack is also really good. Mostly 60s vibes and jazz . By the end the movie I was hooked on the music.
To summarize this review I would like to quote the movie director Director Dupeyron :
“The story reminds us that, even in the worst of times, if you don’t close yourself up, you will always find someone, somewhere, who will smile at you. ‘It’s a hymn to tolerance, a cry for hope,’ that’s what I would like the audience to feel, after seeing the film.”
Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran is a coming of age movie from which everyone can learn a lot Especially someone as inexperienced and naive as I occasionally tend to be. The movie is full of truth about life , women , smiles , friends and I am definitely going to follow some of the advice of Monsieur Ibrahim.