Review: Sorry, Haters

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Ashade (Abdellatif Kechiche) is a recent immigrant from Syria by way of France, who is eking out a living in New York City, despite having a Ph.D. in chemistry. Sporting a beard and a skull cap, the devout Muslim spends long hours behind the wheel of a taxi cab, only taking breaks to face Mecca to pray in accordance with the dictates of his religion. After hours, he devotes his time to helping his brother’s French wife (Elodie Bouchez) and baby (Makani Rietveld), because his sibling is currently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, since he’s suspected of being a terrorist.

Phoebe (Robin Wright Penn), meanwhile, is consumed with hatred for the Asian woman (Sandra Oh) who stole her husband. In fact, envy prevents Phoebe from enjoying her flourishing career as a TV executive with an MTV-Cribs style show called Sorry, Haters. Plus, this jealousy tends to expose her as a racist inclined to make caustic comments about Phyllis’ ethnicity.

Ashade and Phoebe’s paths cross one evening when she happens to hail his taxi on the street, and this coincidence sets off a most unpredictable and ultimately bizarre chain of events you’d ever expect to find in an unlikely-buddy movie. First, Phoebe, hires him to drive to her to suburban New Jersey, where she proceeds to trash her ex’s automobile.

After they get know each other on the long drive back to Manhattan, she offers to find a better lawyer for his brother. Gradually, the pair become increasingly cozy with each other, as Phoebe prods the modest man with increasingly probing questions about his personal life.

So starts Sorry, Haters, a psychological thriller with a cleverly-concealed subplot. For while you’re focused on the front story and whether love might blossom between this mismatched pair of misfits, there’s a sinister sidebar afoot likely to surprise even the best of cinema sleuths.

Excellent (3.5 stars)
Unrated
Running time: 83 minutes
Studio: IFC

****
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