June 29, 2017
Just Like Us bills itself as a “celebration of culture and comedy” and it does just that. If you like standup comedy, you will love this film. If you want to be surprised about culture in Arab countries, you will love this film.
Egyptian-American comedian, Ahmed Ahmed, is the narrator of the film and one of the crew of Middle Eastern comedians on tour throughout the Middle East. The comedians come from the U.S. and the U.K., but they are all of Middle Eastern descent. So, the idea is to show that “heck, Middle Easterners have a sense of humor too” and “people who live in Middle Eastern countries aren’t all crazy terrorists or backward religious fanatics, but have the same hopes and dreams as anyone else in the world.”
The cinematography alone makes this film worth watching. The comedians perform all over the Middle East, and sometimes that has to be done “underground” because it is literally illegal in some places. In other places, this is the first-ever standup comedy in history and one of the comedians is a female! That doesn’t sit well with the authorities in some places, as viewers may imagine.
The comedy is absolutely phenomenal. Yes, indeed, people of Middle-Eastern descent are in fact riotously funny and they are completely capable of making fun of themselves, their communities, and those around them.
What I really loved about this film was learning about people who live in Middle Eastern countries. It is of course not always what we see depicted on the news every night. I was particularly shocked by women’s attitudes in many of these countries. They are quite liberal in some instances, and also quite ticked off about their position in life and want change. Things are slowly beginning to change and it is the younger generations who are starting to shape their own more-liberated futures.
The cinematography is absolutely stunning and the mini-history lessons are really amazing too. You will love viewing the Middle East through a comedian’s eyes, with a little touch of scenery and history mixed in. Contrary to the news of bombs and war, the area is actually quite lovely and filled with history.
I really admire Ahmed Ahmed for showing this Christian a little bit of the world of a Muslim-American who is trying to make a way in the world like the rest of us. I also really appreciate the semi-cultural-exchange I experienced watching the film. I finished it inspired and enlightened.
1 John 4:19-21 (NRSV): We love[a] because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters,[b] are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister[c]whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters[d] also.
Serve all with love.
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