Taking place in Lebanon in 620 A.D., one woman disguises herself as a man in order to experience the rights only men are privileged and endures the consequences.
Spoken in Arabic and subtitled in English, Morine follows the birth and life of the titled character which is based on a real-life story. After losing her mother during childbirth and then abandoned by her father, Morine is raised by her grandfather. As a priest, he teaches her to read, write and serve God even though it is forbidden for girls by Lebanese law.
As a young adult, Morine develops feelings for a young man named Lebnon, who is serving in the military and is also smitten with her. But when she discovers him with another woman (Asteer), she steals his uniform and won’t allow her grandfather to bless him or Asteer with holy ash. Despite Morine’s actions, Lebnon still pursues her which causes Asteer to become jealous. Acting upon those envious feelings, Asteer does something to Morine’s ailing grandfather which sadly leads to his death.
Around this time, Morine’s father returns and tells her he’s been living in the monastery which he joined to avoid temptation (he had an adulterous relationship with Rohel, the town midwife). Left with no one to support her, Morine decides to masquerade as a man so she can join her father at the monastery. Thanks to her grandfather’s teachings, she is able to trick the other monks. Life in the monastery is good until Morine is wrongly accused of raping and impregnating Rohel’s daughter, Tabita. To protect her true identity, she confesses to the crime and is beaten and locked in the stable with the animals.
Morine faces many trials during her confinement but thanks God for her difficult circumstances because they draw her closer to Him. When Tabita gives birth, Asteer takes the baby and leaves it with Morine as revenge. Morine feeds the baby goat’s milk until she is kicked out of the monastery. Desperate to provide for the baby, Morine seeks help from the monks and Rohel but is rejected and must plead to God for help. The baby eventually stops crying and it is implied that he dies. We later learn that Morine returns to the monastery but serves daily hard labor for the rest of her life to atone for her sin. Only upon her death the monks discover her real identity. They later named her Marina, who is the patron saint of all mothers who can’t breastfeed.
This film shows the strong faith and integrity of Morine as she deals with trying situations. She never gives up hope in God or blames God or others for her difficulties. Her example is a testimony of good character and persistence. The movie has a positive message to share but is difficult to follow at times with all the plot twists and is sad to watch. Due to inappropriate sexual behavior and violence, the film earns our Dove-approved for Ages 18+ award for its persevering message.
The Dove Take:
While this drama portrays hope in God despite difficult circumstances, scenes of violence and inappropriate behavior make it better suited for audiences 18 and older.