Thought provoking: Nia Long, left, and Evan Ross, right, in the well-acted Mooz-lum. *Photo courtesy of Peace Films
Thought provoking: Nia Long, left, and Evan Ross, right, in the well-acted Mooz-lum. *Photo courtesy of Peace Films
Our on-staff movie buff Leanne McGrath shares her latest candid movie review. E-mail feedback to her at

Mooz-lum *****

Stars: Danny Glover, Evan Ross, Nia Long
Director: Qasim Basir
Rated: PG
Showing: Liberty Theatre week of Friday, April 29 - daily at 2:30/6pm except Friday 6:30pm; Wednesday 2:30pm. For more information about film times, call 292-7296.
Tickets: Buy tickets online
Runtime: 99 minutes

A provocative yet sympathetic portrait of a young Muslim-American’s life in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks.

Tariq (Evan Ross, 90210) is a college freshman who sees school as a way to escape the iron rule of his fundamentalist father Hassan (Roger Guenveur Smith, American Gangster), whose strict beliefs have already alienated his wife Safiyah (Nia Long, Big Momma’s House) and daughter Taqua (Kimberly Drummond).

After being scarred at an Islamic boarding school, Tariq yearns to reinvent himself and lead a secular life.

He insists on being called “T” and rejects pleas by fellow Muslims to embrace and respect his roots.

But his efforts to have an identity not based on his religion fail to shield him from anti-Islam hatred in the aftermath of 9/11.

The title plays on Americans’ common mispronunciation of Muslim and the movie aims to hit back at Hollywood’s anti-Arab political propaganda.

Depictions of Muslims that are produced and disseminated by right-wing Western media have a huge influence on perceptions, presenting Islam as a religion of hatred rather than peace.

The movie aims to show that only a minority preaches radical fundamentalism.

It attacks Islamic extremism and offers insight into the life of an average American Muslim.

Many will think it is bad taste to use the terror attacks to tell a coming-of-age story but the sincerity means the film never seems exploitative.

Evan Ross, son of Diana, takes on the title role, it being semi-autobiographical of director Qasim Basir’s own experiences.

He brings plenty of passion and agony to the part, as does Roger Guenveur Smith, who fleshes out his role as Tariq’s father so he is more than just a caricature of a religious radical.

Thought-provoking and well acted, Mooz-lum deserves a broad audience.

Watch if you liked: The Kite Runner.