Ali & Nino – DVD Review

A love that transcends two differing cultures. A time of war determined to keep them apart. A life both are desperate to have together despite the obstacles. Ali & Nino is an enchanting and thought-provoking love story that shows that love can sometimes overcome anything. Even in a time of cultural unrest, with countries choosing sides for both political and financial gain, the attraction between two young lovers can never be diminished.

Set against the backdrop of the early stages of World War I, Ali & Nino introduces us to our young couple: the headstrong and confident Nino (Maria Valverde) and Ali (Adam Bakri). It is clear that they are a pair that truly have designs on a future together in spite of their religious and cultural differences (Nino is Christian, Ali is Muslim). Both are welcomed and accepted by the parents of the other, and all seems well.

Until the war begins.

The sudden change in the political climate throws Ali and Nino’s plans to marry into upheaval. It is the overriding conflict itself that threatens to rip their future together apart and tear their love asunder. Will Ali and Nino find love once again and rekindle the flames of passion the war threatens to snuff out for good?

Religion is a key factor in the narrative of the film, and what screenwriter Christopher Hampton executes so beautifully is showing both Muslims and Christians as people instead of ideologues and caricatures of the cultures they represent. These are real people with real issues, loves, hopes, and dreams. He shows that even with differences it’s our similarities that matter most in the long run and allow us to live together in peace.

This is an extraordinary film. Superb acting. A great story. Beautiful cinematography. It’s a period piece set in a time that is rarely explored in film, which makes the narrative all the more intriguing. I was also delighted to see a few familiar faces with Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride, Homeland) and Connie Nielsen (Gladiator, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) co-starring as Nino’s parents.

I highly recommend Ali & Nino!

Ali & Nino is available now on DVD.

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