What an irony it is that when a lockdown is in process, I watch a film about a man travelling to a famous city. The story to It Must Be Heaven follows our protagonist, played by Elia Suleiman (who’s character is credited as ES), as he travels to a number of different city locations to escape his home in Palestine. Only to find that no matter where he goes, something will always remind him of Palestine.
I don’t know what it is – I don’t know if it’s because the artist was influenced or maybe it’s because it’s an off beat comedy with Paris as a major setting and I am projecting a little – but this film gave off vibes of Jean-Pierre Jeunet. More Amelie than The City of Lost Children.
It Must Be Heaven felt like it emulated Jeunet’s more quirky cinematography and some of the editing. It isn’t copy and paste, you could play the two films together and notice a difference, but I couldn’t escape it when I noticed it.
I found It Must Be Heaven to be equal parts charming and frustrating. I found the acting to be excellent, completely natural and yet somewhat theatrical – the best example I can use is Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads. I thought that the plot and the delivery of it was realistic and grounded with just a little quirk in it to make things interesting. I wouldn’t say it was arresting but it did keep the attention.
Although there was a strange moment when someone moved to the beat of a pop song that came out of nowhere and was gone just as quickly – little strange that part.
But what was frustrating about it was that it committed one of cinemas most unfortunate crimes to me. It Must Be Heaven is a comedy that isn’t funny. I didn’t laugh once. Not a single joke landed. No quirk made me smile. This meant for me that the film, despite its positives, even the interesting plot and acting, fell flat and was just boring overall. I know, comedy is subjective.
I love Monty Python, Rick and Morty and JoJo Rabbit, I hate American Pie, The Big Bang Theory and anything produced by Seth McFarlane – but I know many who are the opposite, and I respect their opinions. So, this will not be the take of everyone for this film.
To many, it will tickle the funny bone and will move them with its simple charm. But sadly, it didn’t for me. There were other issues I had. I wasn’t a fan of the music in the film, which didn’t reliably match the tone they were going for. There was a point when I turned from the screen for five seconds to have my drink and I genuinely thought I had changed the channel – it sounded like a horror film. There were other little nitpicks, but none of them were deal breakers.
I just couldn’t get into It Must Be Heaven myself. It is a shame as I do like to watch something nice and quaint every now and then. If you feel that you could do with a little joy, it’s worth a look. I have a feeling we could do with it at this time.
We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.