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Mira Nair’s adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s novel follows a young businessman’s (Riz Ahmed) route from Wall Street back home to Pakistan in the wake of 9⁄11.
A boldly dramatic adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s Booker Prize–shortlisted bestseller, Share Her Journey Ambassador Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist mixes romance and tragedy with the classic arc of ambition thwarted. Nair (whose most recent work, the BBC miniseries A Suitable Boy, premiered at TIFF ’20) brings Hamid’s 2007 novel to the screen with passion and insight. She also delivers a crackling thriller.
In 2011, at an outdoor café in Lahore, a Pakistani man named Changez (Riz Ahmed) tells an American journalist (Liev Schreiber) about his experiences in the United States. Roll back 10 years, and we find a younger Changez, fresh from Princeton, seeking fortune and glory on Wall Street. The American dream seems well within his grasp — until 9⁄11. Changez’s dream then slips into a nightmare: profiled, wrongfully arrested, strip-searched, and interrogated, he is transformed from an upwardly mobile businessman into a scapegoat and perceived enemy.
Ahmed gives a magnificently nuanced performance as an immigrant whose enthusiastic love for his adopted country is bent into deep dejection. Nair’s assured direction is bolstered by a superb script from Hamid, William Wheeler, and Ami Boghani. The story they tell, of both xenophobia and hypocrisy, has profound, global implications to this day.
Official Selection, 2012 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisories: violence, sexually suggestive scenes, coarse language