It’s strange; the effect a single actor can have on the outcome of an entire film is sometimes unsettling. The first word that comes to mind in relation to Cairo Time, a love story but not so much, is sanguine. Not irrepressibly cheerful but certainly not dour. I’m not even sure love story is the right way to categorise, though it’s the most logical. Juliette is in Cairo Time for the first time. Her husband works with the UN and her children have grown up – they don’t need her anymore. She runs a women’s magazine about social issues and hopes to take a vacation with her husband in Cairo, but he’s held up in Gaza and she must remain in Cairo alone. Here, she forges an odd bond with a former worker of her husband Tareq.
Trying to assess its individual strengths it’s a difficult to say why Cairo Time works. It’s not overly inventive with its plot and though the cinematography is beautiful it doesn’t attempt to be conspicuous. Perhaps, it’s the simple fact that Cairo Time has simple intentions that makes the end product something strangely satisfying. Of course, Patricia is the film’s mainstay. Perhaps more than a love-story, it’s a coming age (albeit at a very late age), and really there’s not stringent way to say what “coming” of age occurs. We’re not supposed to, though. Cairo Time is content to chronicle a few moments in the city with Juliette, and though there’s no ulterior motive there’s a whole lot that’s going under the surface. Juliette is not unhappy, but she's not happy either. There seems to be nothing amiss in her life or marriage, and perhaps that's the problem. She spends so much time seeing emotionless, but not listless. It's a thin line, Patty treads it beautifully.
B (A- for Patty)