I saw and basically hated Labaki’s Where Do We Go Now? a number of years ago at TIFF and the moment I found out she made this, my guard went up.
This comedy about women in a salon in Beirut is a movie with a particular audience. I am not part of that audience. That being said, unlike Where Do We Go Now?, I understand why people like this.
Caramel has a great sense of place, which shouldn’t come as a surprise if you know what the movie is about. In addition, it’s easy to see why these characters are appealing to people, as there’s a range of them, each with their particular problem, and they feel real. Basically, what I’m saying is not only does the film convey a sense of “Beirut” but also the salon feels like real place in Beirut with (relatively) real people.
It does feel a little skin deep too me, as each character has one issue they are trying to sort out, and they act as a bit of a too-perfect little group, tailor-made for a movie like this.
And for me, personally, this just isn’t my thing. Though I can’t say I like the term “chick flick,” this is very much a chick flick, as it is about a group of women dealing with their problems – remember, one each! – in a communal setting where men do not intrude. I get that this scenario is appealing to a certain audience, but I am not part of that audience.
I did find the movie occasionally funny and I think I would have laughed a little more had I been in a theatre and not slightly distracted at home.
And look, I get what this is and that’s it not for me. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. It’s just not for me.