This is probably the only film I?ve seen in the last year that I would recommend taking the whole family to. It?s totally lacking in the kinds of things that you wouldn?t want your pre-teens to see, like exploitive violence, gratuitous sex, and computer animated dinosaurs, but it?s intelligent and sensitive enough for your snotty uncle with the Ph.D. in Political Self-Righteousness. Which is not to say that Maryam
is self-righteous. Rather, it?s a very human look at a young Iranian-American girl who lives in New Jersey during the Iran hostage crisis. When her fundamentalist cousin comes to live with her, she?s exposed to the prejudices of people in her new home and in her old one, and she?s drawn into a complex family drama that makes her question her loyalties. Mariam Parris is entirely natural as the titular Maryam, and David Ackert does an excellent job of humanizing the role of her cousin Ali without undermining the objectionable aspects of his rigid world-view.