Leila (1998)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Marriage Drama  |   Release Date - May 14, 1999 (USA)  |   Run Time - 124 min.  |   Countries - Iran  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Iranian filmmaker Dariush Mehrjui (Gav) directed and co-wrote this tale of a woman's dissolving marriage in contemporary Iran. Leila (Leila Hatami) meets her future husband, Reza (Ali Mosaffa), when a friend brings him to a family event. Two months later, they're married, and things seem to be blissful. The middle-class couple has a playful and loving relationship, but their happiness is jeopardized when they discover that Leila cannot bear children. As the couple tries various tests and alternate methods of conception to no avail, Reza continually reassures Leila that it's not important to him to have children -- only to be with her. But Reza is the only male child in his family, and his mother (Jamileh Sheikhi), an old-fashioned woman, is determined for him to have a son to continue the family line. She continually harangues Leila, telling her that Reza desperately wants a child, even if he insists to Leila that he doesn't. Eventually all the pressure from Reza's mother and her own feelings of inadequacy get to Leila, and she agrees to allow Reza to take a second wife who can have his child. As the couple grow more despondent and uncertain as to how to please one another, Reza, unable to assuage Leila's guilt, reluctantly agrees to meet several women his mother has selected as potential second wives. At first, Reza and Leila joke about the unsuitability of the women he's fixed up with, and rediscover some of the joy in their own loving marriage, but eventually their resistance wears down, and they both give in to his mother's wishes.

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Keywords

infertility, mother-in-law