Caramel (Day 82)

Caramel -- Poster

My Opinion: 6.4 || Lightly funny and touching romantic comedy. The casually intimate view of Beirut is nice, and the narrative structure is amiably loose — more a slice of life than a well-formed story.

TITLE: Caramel (Sukkar banat)
DIRECTOR: Nadine Labaki
YEAR: 2007
PROFILE: Romantic Comedy | 95 minutes | IMDb (7.0)

SYNOPSIS (Courtesy of IMDb): A romantic comedy centered on the daily lives of five Lebanese women living in Beirut.

Strengths: Director Nadine Labaki also stars and shows a good touch behind the camera as well as in front of it. She keeps things moving at a brisk pace and employs a light touch that doesn’t strain the thin story. Anyone who’s seen more than two romantic comedies will quickly guess the general direction of the plot, but she turns away from formula at the conclusion and leaves some character arcs pleasantly unresolved.


Weaknesses: The film’s short run time is welcome and keeps things entertaining, but there are probably too many characters and plot threads for such a slight film. In a slice-of-life story like this, the goal is to paint lightly, not sketch incompletely. Unfortunately, some characters never become more than outlines, and one touching storyline regarding a neighbor deserves more attention. The last scene before the credits run is particularly odd, focusing on a character we barely know while leaving the underexplored principals behind.

Characters/Performances: None of the characterizations are as deep as they could be, but it’s a strong ensemble cast. The script allows for amusing banter between the women, and their camaraderie feels authentically warm. The movie belongs to them, but the film’s men are appealing and have their own sparks of life.


Best Moment: The movie’s most beguiling scenes involve a police officer who’s smitten with Labaki’s character, Layale. In the sweetest moment, he watches her while she talks on the telephone with her lover and imagines himself on the other end of the line.

File Under: romance, slice of life, uses of hot sugar, Beirut, Lebanon, Nadine Labaki