I came upon this film while browsing Netflix. I passed it a couple of times before and though it piqued my interest, I told myself I’ll come back to it some other time. And that other time came the other day lying down exhausted from doing errands while my son played in his room.
I did not know anything about the movie, didn’t Google it even while watching it. Yes, I google movies I’m watching in Netflix even the series ones. But this one, I opted to just wait and see. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised, I enjoyed it and thank God I didn’t read the critics’ review first which were kinda harsh, I mean some people can be quite cynical nowadays. This is a love story in a time of war and I don’t want to focus much on its historical aspects because I’m watching it purely for its entertainment value. And yes, I liked it even if it was mushy, cheesy and had a simple storyline without too much character angst like they say.
This film is a romantic drama set during the advent of World War 1 in Anatolia with the American nurse, Lillie played by Hera Hilmar and Turkish Lieutenant, Ismail played by Michiel Huisman as protagonists. It was also a love triangle with an American doctor, Dr. Gresham played by Josh Harnett.
I especially liked the movie’s cinematography with its sweeping vistas of the various landscapes of Turkey. I liked how the director brought you inside the scenes and made you feel that you were there watching Lillie and Ismail fall in love. Memorable scenes for me were when they rode their horses and galloped together in an expansive field and when they rowed a little boat in a river where they had their first kiss. It felt silly feeling giddy inside like a teenager during that scene. Michiel Huisman as Ismail was just wow as this dashing lieutenant and Hera as Lillie was so pretty, you just wish you were her in that scene. And of course, how can I forget their secret meeting, walking through the fishermen nets. That love scene was more romantic than exciting without exposing too much skin yet you still felt the longing they have for each other.
What I also liked about this film was that they had a strong female lead who knew what she wanted. Lillie went to Turkey to donate her departed brother’s truck and bring medical supplies and along the way had an unforgettable journey. She, like Bathsheba of Far from the Madding Crowd and Cora of The Last of the Mohicans movies will now become part of the ensemble of heroines I admire.
In the digital age where everything feels casual, even our views in love, watching this kind of movie makes me reminisce the days of old where love was not getting to know someone from their digital profile or conversations are through text. Well, I guess I’m still old school because I still remembered our time when a man calls you on the phone, asks you for a date, visits you in the house, brings you flowers and writes you love letters. I don’t know if kids still do these things but I’m glad I experienced those in my lifetime. And now that I’m neck-deep in adult responsibilities, movies like this momentarily takes me back in time where life was simple and romantic.