Fawzia Mirza’s charming debut The Queen of My Goals begins with a well-known and heartbreaking revelation. “I used to worship my mom,” our protagonist Azra (Amrit Kaur, The Intercourse Lives of Faculty Ladies) says via voiceover. “I believed she was good. I attempted to be like my mom, however I wasn’t.”
As with most daughters navigating fractious relationships with their moms, Azra’s entry into maturity coincided with the shattering realization that her mom is barely human. The lady who guided her since infancy and endorsed her via difficult moments carries her personal traumas. She doesn’t at all times perceive Azra and, maybe most upsettingly, she won’t need to.
The Queen of My Goals
The Backside Line
A well-known story bursting with inventive aesthetic vitality.
The Queen of My Goals is Mizra’s tackle a recognizable theme. It joins a formidable batch of movies exploring mother-daughter relationships this pageant season, a bunch that features Raven Jackson’s attractive and poetic movie All Filth Roads Style of Salt and Annie Baker’s quietly illuminating debut Janet Planet. However Mizra, who additionally wrote the screenplay for The Queen of My Goals, distinguishes her coming-of-age dramedy by anchoring its story in Bollywood conventions, giving the movie a whimsical and stylized edge.
Azra loves Bollywood motion pictures, particularly the 1969 romance Aradhana, which she repeatedly watched as a child together with her mom. Within the opening scenes of The Queen of My Goals, a now grownup Azra excitedly prepares to rewatch the movie. It’s 1999 in Toronto and the younger lady is learning for an MFA in performing and lives together with her girlfriend (Kya Mosey). She’s estranged from her mom Mariam (Ninra Bucha), a religiously conservative lady who refuses to simply accept that her daughter is queer. And though Azra shares a particular bond together with her father Hassan (Hamza Haq), it’s clear their relationship suffers due to the strain between the 2 girls in his life.
With an environment friendly and professional opening, Mirza establishes the dynamics between Azra and her dad and mom. Their telephone calls are perfunctory reminders of their emotional distance. When Azra’s father dies of a coronary heart assault throughout a visit to Pakistan, the stress of that distance turns into clearer.
His loss of life forces Azra and her brother (Ali A. Kazmi) to fulfill their mom in Pakistan, the place the prolonged household has begun the funeral rituals. Now in her household’s house nation, Azra should reckon together with her mom’s humanity.
Mirza organizes The Queen of My Goals as two coming-of-age tales set throughout three timelines. There’s the instant current, the place we watch Azra and Mariam battle to seek out widespread floor within the wake of Hassan’s loss of life. There are flashes to Azra’s childhood years in Nova Scotia, starting together with her household’s arrival in 1989. And eventually, there’s a timeline with 22-year-old Mariam dwelling in Karachi in 1969 together with her overbearing mom Amira (Gul-e-Rana). Taking cues from Aradhana, a movie that casts a single actor to play the identical function, Kaur performs present-day Azra and youthful Mariam. (The youthful Azra is performed by Ayana Manji.)
The casting threads Azra and her mom’s fates in pretty apparent methods, however Kaur’s sturdy efficiency saves the selection from feeling an excessive amount of like a gimmick. The actress is aware of when to play up Azra and younger Mariam’s similarities and when to zero in on their variations. Younger Mariam grew up in Pakistan’s Golden Age, a interval outlined by extra liberal values. It’s throughout this period that she meets Hassan (nonetheless performed by Haq) and the 2 start a heady romance that defies the custom of organized engagements of that interval. (Mirza flaunts her humorousness all through the movie, however it’s particularly obvious through the courtship conferences between households.)
Mariam yearns for freedom and Kaur performs the character as an aspiring actor without delay seduced by and afraid of the power of her needs. Her story unfolds like a Bollywood movie, and Mirza imbues that timeline with a sugary visible language. The blues are vivid, the yellows candy. Simone Smith’s enhancing deepens this pop sensibility, which incorporates daring transitions between the timelines.
Azra and her mom share goals (each need to be actors) and a rebellious streak. Maybe because of this their bond is, initially, so sturdy. Throughout the years in Nova Scotia, we witness the layers of their intimacy. Younger Azra appears to be like at her mom with equal components awe and tenderness. When Mariam begins a tupperware gross sales enterprise, internet hosting her white Canadian neighbors for tea and curry, she enlists Azra’s assist to promote the plastic containers. What younger Azra doesn’t see, although, is that Mariam continues to be recovering from disappointing her personal mom, who feels betrayed that her solely daughter moved away.
The Queen of My Goals adroitly strikes between these three tales, however, with loads of floor to cowl, among the timelines really feel stronger than others. The 1999 thread can really feel particularly aimless and weak in comparison with the forthrightness of the opposite sections. Extra conversations between Azra and Mariam would have helped right here; there are hints as to why Mariam struggles to simply accept her daughter, however it may need been price exploring her flip to non secular conservatism.
Nonetheless, Mizra has created a movie bursting with inventive vitality and distinctive aesthetic sensibilities. Even when the narrative slackens, you’ll need to maintain watching.