Jacir (2022)

Jacir (2022)

A personal indie drama depicting the struggles of Syrian refugees in America



United States of America
Arabic, English
Jonathan Stoddard, Lorraine Bracco, Luke Barnett
105 min


Not perfect, but timely.

What it's about

Moving to the streets of Memphis, Syrian refugee Jacir (Malek Rahbani) tries to acclimate into the community, getting to know his co-worker Jerome (Tutweezy) and opioid-addicted neighbor Meryl (Lorraine Bracco).

The take

The Syrian refugee crisis is still ongoing, so it can understandably be difficult to create a nuanced and accurate depiction. Jacir is an earnest attempt at this. Keeping it on the more personal side, the film focuses on the journey of one Syrian refugee as he gets to know members of his neighborhood, like his black co-worker Jerome and his opioid-addicted neighbor Meryl. Though occasionally bogged down by clunky dialogue, their struggles genuinely outline the same struggles faced by communities failed by their institutions. It’s only through banding together as a community that Jacir and his friends can survive.

What stands out

Certain bits of dialogue in the film do feel a bit clunky, but the cast of Jacir makes it work with their natural chemistry. Lorraine Bracco from Goodfellas portrays a character that could be easily disliked, but her performance makes Meryl someone we can look at with empathy. YouTuber Tutweezy also makes an interesting feature debut in his depiction of Jerome, as he easily builds rapport with Jacir. But the heart of the film lies with Malek Rahbani as the title character. Rahbani’s feature debut is outstanding, and the film’s most emotional moments stem from his performance, most notably that frustrated monologue at the end of the second act.

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