Cairo Time Web Only Review
Rated M
Review by David Stratton

Juliette, Patricia Clarkson, arrives in Cairo for a rendezvous with her husband, Mark, who works for the United Nations in Gaza. She's met at the airport by Tareq, Alexander Siddig, a former colleague of Mark. As the days pass, and Mark fails to show up, Juliette spends her time in her room in a luxury hotel overlooking the Nile, or walking the streets, where she's stared at and jostled by men. Tareq offers her help, advice and companionship.

The best thing to say about this underwhelming romance is that it's a great travelogue of Cairo. Apart from that, it fails to deliver on most levels, with a love story that harks back to BRIEF ENCOUNTER, where Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson gazed longingly at one another but actual sex between them was, well, unthinkable. Both Patricia Clarkson, who constantly dresses inappropriately for a single woman in a Muslim country, and Alexander Siddig, seem vaguely embarrassed by the whole affair, and Canadian writer/director Ruba Nadda's handling is extremely tentative.

CAIRO TIME looks great, but looks aren't enough - a bit more substance would have been welcome.


I'm afraid I ended up more irritated than entranced by this film about a supposedly intelligent and sophisticated Western woman becoming besotted with the culturally exotic Cairo and with a sexually exotic friend of her husbands. The too twee view of Cairo was more postcard than insightful. The fact that she has little cultural sensibility for the country she's visiting struck me as farcical if she is supposed to be the editor of a New York magazine.

I am usually a great admirer of Patricia Clarkson but I found her performance in this languidly self-conscious. It's not enough for me to have endless walks through Cairo streets, soulful gazing at the pyramids which were suspiciously empty, and very little development of either plot or character. And on a completely superficial note, I thought the costume designer for this film did an appalling job. She's meant to be a sophisticated New Yorker!