Movie Review - Fremont

Fremont is a difficult film to categorize. On the one hand, Babak Jalali’s latest film is unremarkable, requiring viewers to be patient in order to comprehend the delicate image the filmmaker is creating. At the same time, Fremont exudes flair, focusing on the difficulties that pervade the ordinary life of an immigrant in the United States through its modest plot.

While it’s easy to see why the premise could turn off audiences, this brilliant dramedy will undoubtedly reward those who stick around. There’s also something for individuals searching for star power in their flicks, with a supporting ensemble that includes names like Gregg Turkington (Ant-Man) and Jeremy Allen White (The Bear).

Donya (Anaita Wali Zada) is an Afghan immigrant who purchased her American dream by working as a translator for the US Army during their operations in Central Asia. Despite not being on the frontlines, Donya observed the horrors of war firsthand while performing a job that put her family in jeopardy after she became suspected of being a traitor. So, when the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan, long after the US forces had left and left their mess behind, Donya escaped to the Land of the Free, where many claim hard labor guarantees a place in heaven.


Screenshot 86Of course, life is not so straightforward in the United States. Donya was permitted entry into the nation, but she still struggles to make ends meet, with her meager wage barely covering food and a roof over her head in an apartment hotel. Furthermore, while her employment at a handcrafted fortune cookie factory pays the bills, the mundane and repetitious labor is unsatisfying. It’s odd, therefore, that Donya spends her day assisting in the production of a product designed to make people feel better about their luck while struggling to manage her own.

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To say Donya is a complex character is an understatement. While it’s wonderful to see Jalali and co-writer Carolina Cavalli develop an engaging female lead, Zada deserves all the credit for her outstanding performance. We comprehend Donya’s inner world even when she is mute, because of her dedication to the job. Zada’s eyes are filled with fire, expressing Donya’s ardent desire to live a more fulfilled life. At the same time, her survivor guilt keeps her from going on, frequently snuffing out the embers of her ambition. The fact that this is Zada’s first acting credit just adds to his accomplishment. She clearly has a promising future ahead of her.

Fremont captivates the viewers with a narrative of self-forgiveness and suppressed passions, traversing Donya’s path with a positive note about how we should embrace life’s uncertainty and understand that happiness may be just around the corner. It’s a message that resonates even more because of Donya’s ordinary existence, which was imposed on her as a result of her immigrant status. While Fremont is a simple plot with few surprises, it is a delightful film with many layers of its own. Unfortunately, it fails miserably in its attempt to make the audience laugh.

While Fremont is a moving drama about immigrant identity, the film’s attempts at humor are not always effective. Jalali attempts to examine her life’s difficulties via deadpan comic situations that demonstrate how odd humans can be. That creative option sometimes results in real laughs, while other sequences are excruciatingly cringe-worthy.

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It’s also worth noting that the humor in Fremont is frequently brought by its supporting cast, each of whom represents a distinct manner Donya seeks to interact with the world. Turkington portrays a psychiatrist who is more emotional than his patients during sessions, and Hilda Schmelling plays Donya’s American employee who is yearning to find love. White also makes a brief visit to Fremont, offering some much-needed optimism to Donya’s life in a sweet but fleeting presence. While they are comedic characters, they are nonetheless complex human beings with aspirations, anxieties, and eccentricities. Despite the fact that Fremont’s objective is to convey Donya’s tale, it can’t help but seem like this fantastic supporting cast is underutilized. Furthermore, while it felt a little thin overall, there was room to investigate the constellation of persons related to Donya.

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Having said that, Fremont remains a secret treasure that deserves all of the attention it has received over its festival run. Jalali crafts a one-of-a-kind dramedy that will be remembered for its strong directing, passionate acting, and stunning cinematography.