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  • Summary: German-born Umay flees from her oppressive marriage in Istanbul, taking her young son Cem with her. She hopes to find a better life with her family in Berlin, but her unexpected arrival creates intense conflict. Her family is trapped in their conventions. They are torn between their love for her and the traditional values of their community. Ultimately, they decide to return Cem to his father in Turkey. To keep her son, Umay is forced to move again. She finds the inner strength to build a new life for herself and Cem, but her need for her family’s love drives her to a series of ill-fated attempts at reconciliation. What Umay doesn’t realize is just how deep the wounds are and how dangerous her struggle for self-determination has become...(Olive Films)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jan 27, 2011
    90
    Aladag's point, I think, is that no matter how righteous we may feel about this kind of zero-sum cultural collision, for the human beings involved it often results in unbearable tragedy.
  2. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jan 27, 2011
    83
    When We Leave is a film without villains. Instead, it features a set of circumstances that inevitably and needlessly spin out of control.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Apr 15, 2011
    75
    This melodrama about spousal abuse and honor killings might be too grim to bear, but Kekilli keeps it centered.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 31, 2011
    63
    As powerful as the movie is, it stays on the outside of a culture looking in.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jan 28, 2011
    60
    Kekilli sensitively portrays Umay's conflicted despair, and the relationship with her son is beautifully rendered.
  6. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Mar 3, 2011
    50
    A doleful melodrama. There are some intense, moving sequences, but too much emotional badgering and a general shortage of finesse.
  7. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jan 25, 2011
    40
    The film has the look of unflinching truth, yet it too often feels like a calculated ploy to stoke viewers' liberal-guilty consciences.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
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  3. Negative: 0 out of

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