Ramy (Hakim Brahimi) is a medical student studying in Montréal. A quiet man who is still grieving over the death of his mother, he wants to find out more about life in a city that seems so far removed from home and his Middle Eastern upbringing.
The only person he knows there is his cousin, Tamer (Jade Hassouné) who’s the lead singer in a punk band, so he goes along one night to see them play. There he meets Desiree (Jasmina Parent) and Yaz (Sana Asad) who seem to be full of life and embody the freedom of the city that Ramy wants to experience.
However, Ramy soon becomes enamoured with Yaz and his pursuit of her drives a wedge between his new friendships.
Montréal Girls is a comedy drama directed by Patricia Chica and co-written by Kamal John Iskander, partly inspired by his own experiences of moving to the city. A complicated story which interweaves many themes, it gives the audience much more depth into Ramy’s story than he may even realise himself. The more cynical members of the audience though could find themselves being driven away if they don’t understand Ramy’s art.
However, for those who are determined to follow their dreams, then Montréal Girls becomes a nuanced and thought-provoking film. A story that talks about a multitude of things such as grief, cultural expectations and affairs of the heart. It feels like a coming-of-age story at the time in life where everything is supposed to be figured out and Ramy’s journey may lead the audience to surprising places.
With some great performances by all of the main cast, director Chica makes Montreal come to life. Paired with beautiful cinematography, Montréal is the star in the film, but thankfully without making Montréal Girls feel like a tourist board advertisement.
On paper, a story about a medical student dreaming of becoming a poet may feel a bit pretentious and artsy. If that’s not your thing, then in some ways it may meet those expectations and in others it won’t. However, for those who want a story that challenges them, then a night with Montréal Girls may be just what they need.
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