THE INSULT

"Political and Religious Tensions Fuel Gripping Drama"

NoneLightModerateHeavy
Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

Summary:

Set in Beirut, THE INSULT is a captivating drama from Lebanon about a personal dispute between a Christian and a Muslim refugee that results in some physical and emotional hurt and ends up in court. THE INSULT makes some interesting, insightful moral points about seeing things from another person’s viewpoint, but it has a strong Romantic worldview that blames society rather than people, contains some strong foul language, and goes a little too far in absolving, to a certain extent, the Muslim refugees in Lebanon for the mess they helped create.

Review:

Set in Beirut, THE INSULT is a captivating drama about a personal dispute between a Christian and a Muslim Palestinian refugee in Lebanon that results in some physical and emotional hurt and ends up in court. THE INSULT makes some interesting, insightful moral points about seeing things from another person’s viewpoint, but it has a strong Romantic worldview that blames society rather than people, contains some strong foul language, and goes a little too far in absolving, to a certain extent, the Muslim refugees in Lebanon for the mess they helped create.

Yasser Salameh, the Palestinian Muslim foreman of a company restoring buildings in Beirut, comes to Christian resident Tony Hanna’s apartment one day to fix a broken gutter that Tony installed illegally. Suddenly, Tony makes sure Yasser gets dirty water on him from Tony. Yasser insults Tony by calling him a bad name. Tony insists Yasser apologize. Yasser’s boss tries to smooth things over by offering a box of chocolates, but Tony doesn’t accept the apology.

Yasser and the landlord go together to apologize but Tony insults Yasser by saying that he wished Israeli General Ariel Sharon in 1982 had “finished the job” of killing all Muslim terrorists and refugees from Jordan and Israel who helped wrecked Lebanon’s peaceful society in the 1970s and 80s. Yasser gets angry and punches Tony, fracturing Tony’s ribs. The fracture causes a pneumothorax, which causes acute pain. Tony wants Yasser imprisoned for the act, but the authorities say they can’t do that because Yasser has been labeled a “Palestinian” and they can’t enter the Palestinian refugee camps. Yasser, however, turns himself into the police.

At the trial, Yasser is acquitted. Enraged, Tony insults the judge, saying he will sue and have him disbarred. The judge acknowledges the issue has less to do about the gutter and more to do about the feud between Lebanese Christians and Palestinian Muslim refugees.

While Tony works late one night, his pregnant wife, Shirine, finds him unconscious from acute pain and takes him to the hospital. Tony appeals the ruling in favor of Yasser and wants Yasser to pay for the moral and physical damages inflicted because Shirine experienced complications. Shocked from seeing Tony unconscious and carrying him to the car, Shirine went into labor, delivering a premature daughter who was then put on life support. Tony figures Yasser should pay for all their medical bills.

During the trial, Tony’s lawyer brings up Yasser’s violent past by calling a witness who was paralyzed due to a violent act Yasser committed in 1971. Due to the sensitive nature of the case, the trial stirs up unrest between Christians and Muslims. It’s also revealed that Tony’s family were the victims of an act of terrorism inflicted by Palestinian and left-wing militia troops and terrorists in 1976, which killed about 500 or more people.

Can Tony and Yasser find any common ground? What will the court decide to do about Yasser punching Tony and the pain inflicted on Tony and his wife? Finally, what about Tony’s incendiary comment that he wished Israeli General Ariel Sharon had finished killing all the refugees back in 1982, the comment that led to Yasser’s punch?

THE INSULT is one of the best foreign language movies that played in the United States and Canada in the last year. It not only sheds light on the prejudices between two political and religious rivals but asks an even greater question, How should a Christian act in a confrontational situation, even if he’s right and the other person’s wrong? Filmed in Beirut with no camera effects and plain cinematography, THE INSULT relies on emotion to tell its story. Viewers will have compassion on both sides by the end. The movie’s performances are spot on.

THE INSULT makes some interesting, insightful moral points about seeing things from another person’s viewpoint. However, it has a strong Romantic worldview that blames society rather than the two men who clash in the story. Also, the movie goes a little too far in absolving, to a certain extent, the Muslim refugees in Lebanon for the mess they helped create there. This sometimes ends up making the Christians in Lebanon and Israel’s invasion of Lebanon look like the bigger culprits for the conflicts and problems there. That said, the movie makes it clear that the Muslim militia and terrorist groups (which, in reality, had broad support from the “Palestinian” people), along with some leftist groups aligned with them, were indeed behind a massacre of Christian Arabs on January 20, 1976. Finally, THE INSULT has some strong foul language and violence. So, extreme caution is advised.

Content:

(RoRo, B, PC, LL, VV, N, D, MM):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
  Strong Romantic worldview showing that people’s emotions and behavior can be corrupted by the social group and particular situations in which they’ve grown up or find themselves, but with some solid moral elements concerning justice and doing the right thing, though the movie is slightly politically correct when it goes a little too far in absolving, to a certain extent, the Muslim refugees in Lebanon for the mess they helped create, which sometimes ends up making the Christians in Lebanon and Israel’s invasion of Lebanon look like the bigger culprits for the conflicts and problems there;

Foul Language:
  21 obscenities (including nine or ten “f” words) but no profanities, plus the use of the “n” word;

Violence:
  Light violence includes two scenes of one man punching another man, a motorcyclist is hit by a car during a chase, newsreel footage of militia troops with guns entering village outskirts, injured man collapses and pregnant wife moves him across floor, baby is born prematurely and is in danger of dying but survives, images of fires during riots, talk about a massacre, and angry man smashes a pipe;

Sex:
  No sexual content;

Nudity:
  Brief upper male nudity;

Alcohol Use:
  No alcohol use or drunkenness;

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
  Brief tobacco smoking but no drug references; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
  Moderate level of miscellaneous immorality such as lying, vandalism, revenge, greed, racism, bad role models, and dysfunctional family portrayals.  

In Brief:

Set in Beirut, THE INSULT is a captivating drama from Lebanon. An exchange of harsh words between a Christian and a Muslim Palestinian refugee unearths decades of political and religious tensions between their communities. A hateful comment from the Christian angers the Muslim man, who punches the Christian in the stomach. When the punch results in medical complications for the Christian and his wife, the Christian takes the Muslim to court, asking for damages.

Filmed in Beirut with no camera effects and plain cinematography, THE INSULT relies on emotion to tell its story. Viewers will have compassion on both sides by the end. He performances are good. THE INSULT makes some interesting, insightful moral points about seeing things from another person’s viewpoint. However, it has a strong Romantic worldview that blames society rather than the two men who clash in the story. Also, the movie goes a little too far in absolving, to a certain extent, the Muslim refugees in Lebanon for the mess they created there. Finally, THE INSULT has some strong foul language and violence. So, extreme caution is advised.