Layla Majnun is an Indonesian film directed by Monty Tiwa and starring Acha Septriasa, Reza Rahadian and Baim Wong, alongside other cast members.
There’s a scene in Indonesian film Layla Majnun where our protagonist Layla beats the shit out of a guy who forcefully wants to marry Samir’s cousin. Since it’s rare in Indonesian movies to showcase independent women who stand up for themselves and others, this scene came as a shock to me. Yes, the fight sequence wasn’t that well-constructed, but it was still a surprising thing to witness. I rewatched the sequence twice, unable to believe my eyes, and it was awesome to watch.
Layla Majnun follows the story of Layla and Samir, who fall in love with each other while she is on a teaching assignment in Azerbaijan. However, will their love be enough to keep them together?
The movie starts off strong – it’s a pure drama-romance that is quite light on the mind and it’s quite interesting because of our protagonist Layla. Her character is strong, she has will-power and is capable of making her own decisions. She has dreams and aspirations that don’t revolve around getting married and having kids – which is a breath of fresh air when it comes to Indonesian dramas.
Everything’s great until around the half-time mark, however, when the pace starts to sludge along. It’s mainly because you know the problems that Layla will face in her life, the avenues those problems will take and whether or not they will be solved. Layla Majnun, in its last 15 minutes or so, tries to deliver something new (or so I thought) with the death of a character and the supposed death of two others. But the one who dies means nothing to us, unfortunately, and the other two ends up being just fine. Thus, it turns out to be exactly how you thought it would, which isn’t essentially a bad thing, but it is quite boring.
The most unfortunate thing about Layla Majnun is the movie doesn’t really do justice to Layla’s character. I know I am repeating myself, but the film really does give a lot of strength to Layla and by the end, takes away most of it. I understand that she had no choice and all, but come on, the girl beat a guy to pulp a few scenes ago. Do her character some justice.
Layla Majnun is sweet because of Layla and Samir, played by Acha Septriasa and Reza Rahadian. The lead pair is cute and believable as the two people in love. Other characters too, especially Baim Wong as Ibnu, are good.
Director Monty Tiwa seems to have taken great care in portraying the beauty of Azerbaijan to the audience. Every scene featuring the country looks absolutely stunning and, since the production value is great as well, it’s a very good-looking movie. The music too, is enjoyable, especially the Azerbaijani songs that are featured. There’s a lot of poetry that you can enjoy as well, especially if you understand the language. I don’t know how much justice the subtitles did to the feel of the poetry, but I have to take what I can get.
Summing up: Layla Majnun
The central plot of Layla Majnun trudges on the tried and tested road that most drama-romance movies go on. However, it’s still entertaining and some scenes are quite emotional and heart-touching. There’s a lot of drama packed in every scene, so if you’re into that, then this movie will be right up your alley. Layla’s character, although doesn’t get a good arc, is still quite enjoyable and praiseworthy. The performances are good and the locations beautiful. There are a few plot points, however, that are absolutely unnecessary and have no bearings on the central plot whatsoever and just pad the runtime.
All in all, it’s a good one-time watch and won’t bore you much.
Layla Majnun is streaming on Netflix.
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