Not Without My Daughter [1991]

The Arab anti-defamation leagues understandably had a field day with this one. Sally Field plays Betty Mahmoody, an American who marries an Iranian (Alfred Molina) and has a child. They go back to Iran for a visit and, to her horror, he tells her he's decided to stay there. If she wants to leave, she must leave her daughter behind. If she stays, Betty must live in a culture vastly different and, she believes, very dangerous. Part thriller, part culture clash, the film certainly takes advantage of Americans' perceptions of Iran after the unrest of the '70s and early '80s. Molina is truly despicable as the husband, while Field projects a lot of overheated anguish as Betty tries to figure out a way to escape the country with her daughter. Overheated, in fact, is the word for the whole melodrama. --Marshall Fine

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