Ever since I heard about this movie, a foreign film from Lebanon that takes place in Beirut and written, acted, and directed by Nadine Labaki (a female director to boot), I wanted to see it but kept pushing it off. It came up again on my Netflix watch list so I finally decided to watch it tonight.

And it whirled me into its world: a small beauty salon in Beirut where people come to share their personal drama, joy, worries, and hopes. It’s a pastiche of different stories that involve women who work in the beauty salon and their frequent customers.

And you will never guess what the caramel is used for. Hint: it’s not for eating.

There are many poignant moments in the movie and what I appreciated the most was the honesty in which these poignant stories are shared. Unlike in Hollywood movies, where the story takes expected turns to satisfy the audience, Caramel has moments of disappointment, disillusionment, but ultimately hope. The beauty of life shown through its most mundane, every day moments. I loved it.

I was reminded of a quote from Gogol’s Dead Souls, which strangely fits this movie:

And for a long time yet, led by some wondrous power, I am fated to journey hand in hand with my strange heroes and to survey the surging immensity of life, to survey it through the laughter that all can see and through the tears unseen and unknown by anyone.

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