So What if Apple TV Made a Movie About a Muslim Girl in America Falling in Love with a White Boy?

Published November 7th, 2019 - 07:27 GMT
 ‘Hala’ Trailer Charts Pakistani Teen’s Coming of Age Story
‘Hala’ Trailer Charts Pakistani Teen’s Coming of Age Story

Apple’s new streaming platform has stirred up quite the debate over its trailer of the movie Hala, a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story about a Muslim girl living in the West.

The official synopsis reads: “Seventeen-year-old Pakistani American teenager Hala (Geraldine Viswanathan) struggles to balance desire with her familial, cultural and religious obligations. As she comes into her own, she grapples with a secret that threatens to unravel her family.”

The trailer received massive backlash from social media users, who argue that the film is yet another misrepresentation of brown Muslim women, who “only find happiness through the white man’s gaze.”

Others criticized the film’s depiction of Muslim parents, as it portrays them as strict, conservative and abusive towards their daughters. 

Multiple Twitter users called the film unoriginal, noting that they grew up with the same stereotypes that target hijabi women, pleading for this “neo-Orientalist” portrayal of Muslim women in pop culture to stop. 

On the other hand, some people found the reaction towards the film upsetting, as it highlights the reality of the conservative life Muslim females struggle with in Western societies.

Some people argued that the film is not only representative of cultural reality in the West but it may also help viewers who struggle with the same issues.

Also, there were those who questioned whether an alternative story would be any better. 

The film will be in theaters starting November 22nd, and is set to be premiered on Apple TV+ on December 6th. Hala was written and directed by Minhal Baig and executive produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, and it was an official selection of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.


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