Two-time OscarĀ(r) winner* Sally Field adds another powerful acting triumph to her gallery of great roles in the suspense thriller Not Without My Daughter, a riveting true story of terror and escape. Betty has come to the... more » Middle East with her daughter and native-born husband(Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2, Species) for a visit with his family. But soon the horrible truth about their vacation surfaces. Betty's husband doesn't intend to bring his family back to America...ever. She may return, he says, but their daughter must stay. And he has centuries of local custom and the oppressive might of a police state behind him. As a stranger in a foreign land, Betty has no money, no friends and no rights. But she does have an unconquerable will. In a hostile, war-torn country, where even the slightest misstep can mean death, she makes a desperate bid to escape with her child. Her story, her courage and her ultimate triumph are unforgettable. *1979: Actress, Norma Rae; 1984: Actress, Places in the Heart« less
This movie is POWERFUL!
I had read the book and it was one of the best books I've ever read. It's a true story of an American woman who marries an Iranian man and has a daughter in America. He takes them to Iran and holds them hostage there. You have to see it to believe it. It's riveting. I don't think I blinked or breathed through the whole movie.
My husband didn't want to watch it at first because he thought it was a "girl" movie but he was glued to it also and afterwards all he could say was "Wow!".
5 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
The truth laid bare....
Daniel H. Yeary | Versailles, KY USA | 01/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You'll have to laugh at the fact that this movie is precisely the type of thing Hollywood wouldn't make now for any amount of money. It wouldn't be any less true, of course, but it wouldn't be 'tolerant' to report these abuses that any educated person already knew about anyway. Take a peek into a twisted culture that treats women little better than caged animals. Absolutely vile, inexcusable behavior no matter how hard some may try to spin it away. 'Tolerance' is not a burden on our part when human rights are being trampled on like this....the burden of tolerance is squarely on Middle Eastern culture and anyone who says otherwise is pushing an agenda that leads to accepting what this story shows. That this woman had to endure this and come back here and have some belittle this story as fabricated is indescribably cruel as well as knowingly false. A brave woman who, by her own innocence, walked into a nest of ignorance and callousness and came out the other end to warn you."
An engaging, forthright movie
J. Houzet | Chicago, IL | 04/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Strangely enough, this was one of those movies I thought was "ho-hum, boring, a chick-flick" at the time it was released back in 1990. Seeing it later made me change my mind. It is the engaging true story of a woman who suffers abuse at the hands of her husband, but who is ultimately a survivor and even a warrior. Man, do you end up cheering for her. The added dimension is that the abuse she suffers is condoned by the country and political-religious system in which she was living at the time - Shi'ite Iran.
I believe this is a very true depiction of life for a woman in fundamentalist Muslim cultures, especially a western woman who is not used to submitting to oppressive cultural and marital demands. Wearing a burqa was the least of Betty Mahmoody's troubles - her husband, who initially appeared tolerant and even westernized while he was living in America, changes into a control freak when he returns to Iran with his wife and young daughter. I felt some sympathy for the husband due to the fact he appears initially reluctant to dominate Betty in the way his family and culture expects, but he was either fooling us all along, or he was very weak-minded and completely unfaithful to his vows to love and honor his wife by treating Betty so viciously.
Betty is at first incredulous about her husband's expectations, but when he starts beating her she learns to be docile while planning an escape for her and her daughter. It was amazing to see in the family situations how Iranian women are so indoctrinated by their culture that they too become oppressors, of other women and anyone who is not being Islamic enough.
Fortunately there are other heroes in this story besides Betty - Iranian dissidents who help her plan and execute an escape, at great risk to their own lives."
This movie was true and I lived it
Alejandra Vernon | 11/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To all of you people who have called this movie ridiculous...You live it and then tell us how ridiculous it is. Not only did I go through this with my mother when I was a child, but I unfortunately returned to live in the Middle East 15 years after she got me out and my father, again, tried to keep me there against my will. I have lived in a world you will hopefully never have to live in. So, please don't ever say it's not 'real'."
A harrowing tale of a clash of cultures
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 05/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based on Betty Mahmoody's account of her 18 months in Iran, this is a gripping, emotional roller coaster of a film that kept me riveted to the screen for all of its 115 minutes. Though fearful, Betty agreed to go for a two-week visit to Iran with her husband Moody and daughter Mahtob, only to find at the end of the two weeks that her husband was fired from his job in the US, and he has no intention of leaving Iran. Moody's family are primitive village people, very extreme in their views, and Moody, at first to "save face", and then perhaps degenerating into the man he was before being "Americanized", inceasingly controls Betty with force and humiliation, all within the Ayatollah Khomeni's insane and rigorous Islamic state of 1984.
Her struggle to get out of Iran with her daughter is what this film is about (it would have been easy to leave alone), and there are many brave Iranians who risk their lives to help her. The claim that this film is racist is irrational, doesn't take these heroic people into consideration, and is an example of the narrow-minded intolerance shown in this film, a mindset that led to 9/11. Though made in 1990, this is a very timely film to watch, and relates to the problem of abuse in every culture. I don't understand why it has slipped under the radar screen and is not more widely known. The acting is excellent by the entire cast, and the direction by Brian Gilbert is tight and feels like a top-notch thriller at times, with Jerry Goldsmith's terrific score and Peter Hannan's wonderful cinematography, shot on location in Israel, which is fantastic in the last portion of the film. Sally Field and Alfred Molina give the performance of their lives, in what is much more than a "woman's film"; this is a film about humanity and extraordinary courage, and should have a much wider audience than it has had. "
The good and the bad side of humanity
Raven's Child | Virginia USA | 10/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A true story about a woman who marries an Iranian, has a child with him, and "visits" his family in Iran. To her horror, her husband tells her he intends to stay in Iran with both his wife and daughter. Watching her husband transform from a caring husband into a fanatic, I couldn't help feeling sorry for him too. He bacomes so influenced by the matriarch, whose mentality towards Betty's being forced to stay in Iran, is "If it was good enough for me, it is good enough for other women" that he became a victim of this woman as well. The man does show love for his wife by moving in with friends and away from this matriarch's influence but the problems do not end there. Betty is subjected to beatings at her husband's hands. Through this evil, a positive side of Iranians is shown. Many Iranians help her and her daughter escape her husband and take her home to America. The most moving part in the movie is when a nomad who is taking Betty and her daughter to Turkey, takes Betty's jewelry and pass port and then returns her belongs to her when she is no longer in his care. He has done a wonderful thing for Betty and has asked for nothing in return. The best lesson this movie has to offer an audience is that by viewing the negative side of humanity, in any culture or country, we also see a positive side."