I Am Yours tells the tale of a young Norwegian Pakistani single-mother, Mina (Amrita Acharia), trying to balance the demands of family, her career as an actress and dating in Oslo.
For last year’s Thankful for World Cinema when deciding what topic I would tackle as the Oscar voters’ issue of the year the co-production was essentially the topic. In modern cinema even films that don’t necessarily have a multicultural aspect are produced by many countries and companies working in concert. Those co-productions are further encouraged by sociopolitical alliances and migratory patterns the world over. In short, the immigrant experience is now a tale that can be told the world over. Whereas Chaplin helmed and starred in the 20th Century’s iconic version, there can be many more visions for the 21st Century from the world over, and this is just one of those tales.
This is a different kind of experience as those which can be exposed through the new post-colonial cinema as I cited here. In films such as this and others such as Shun Li and the Poet the experience is other. While the themes of assimilation and embracing, and struggling with, one’s diversity are omnipresent it’s a different kind of story that can add new complications to age-old human dramas.
I can hear you, if you’re still with me and reading, saying: “Yeah, well that’s great, but how about this movie?” That’s kind of what I’m driving at. The ostensible narrative that of Mina trying to please, or just get along with, her parents (Rabia Noreen and Sudhir Komar Kohli); raise her son (Prince Singh); deal with her ex (Assad Siddique) and date Jesper (Ola Rapace) is not where the interest lies, which is the film’s greatest issue. Essentially, if you’re an optimist it’s a zero-sum operation wherein Mina has to learn to find, and fend for herself, and not try and meet anyone else’s expectations. At worse she loses almost everything in order to realize that she too has to find herself.
One can see through Mina’s passion, of sorts, influences of her ancestral home fighting with influences of her adopted home. They fight for her at different times and when she decides to run to one or the other she is pushed away as not wholly their’s. This read is made easier to infer due to the fact that some specifics of her story are glossed over or omitted entirely.
Due to the fact that I am a first generation American and a dual citizen I am more sensitive, and should be more inclined to be truly moved by such a tale. The issue ends up being that it’s an overly-academic exercise and not as much of a visceral connection. The superficial narrative is not engaging enough to find the riches of the potential symbology and commentary to be truly valuable.
The film functions as well as it does thanks to the captivating and charming interpretation of a pained young girl seeking fulfillment by Amrita Acharia. It truly is a star-making turn such that if the film lacked her contribution it would’ve been a completely lost cause. Instead it does have a heart and soul, it just has one that’s not adequately exposed onscreen to make the film rise above its ascribed station.
If there is any doubt about what some things that should be read, thought on and discussed with regards to this film the title dispels those doubts. Due to what it seeks to express, and the performance of Acharia, it is definitely worth seeking out. It may speak more strongly to others than it did to me, and it is definitely a dialogue that will be, and should be, revisited many times over.