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May in the Summer

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Sometimes a journey "home" is an encounter with oneself. May in the Summer tells the story of a young, sophisticated woman who lives in New York and whose first novel was a success. She's engaged and travels home to visit her mother and plan her wedding. While there she must deal with the usual travails of familial discontinuity, a tale that has been told countless times. The difference here is that May's home is in Amman, Jordan. Her mother is a Palestinian who married an American. May and her sisters were raised in the U.S.

Wait, there's more. Her mother is a fundamentalist Christian and May's fiancé is Muslim. Yikes! Amman is not Gaza, but you can see Palestine across the water from a Western style beach resort as you float in the Dead Sea. Oh, and there are not too many women in jogging shorts for the local men to ogle. Only one: May. These dislocations serve as much needed reminders that even though May and her sisters are pop culture savvy and are not just Westernized-they're as American as apple pie served at a NY deli. All of which adds up to an old story told and set in a new world.

Diversity is a word I embrace and May in the Summer displays all its nuances in an engrossing and even affectionate manner. The script is good and the acting is outstanding. May encounters more familial secrets which I won't reveal here. It's a new twist on an old tale well worth viewing.

DIRECTOR(S): Cherien Dabis SCREENWRITER(S): Cherien Dabis CAST: Cherien Dabis, Hiam Abbass, Alia Shawkat, Bill Pullman, Nadine Malouf, Elie Mitri, Alexander SiddigDISTRIBUTOR: Cohen Media Group