Nadine Labaki makes her feature debut with Caramel, an enchanting story of five women who work in the local beauty salon. Focusing on small segments of each woman’s personal life we slowly grow to learn and care about their trials and tribulations.
From having an affair with a married man, falling in love with a female customer, to sacrificing their youth to look after elderly relatives, the film also touches on the challenges in society facing modern-day Beirut, looking at the growing contradictions between the old and young and the religious and secular.
It is a real character-driven piece with fantastic performances by the entire cast, and avoids many of the stereotypes that other social comedies fall into. Beautifully shot, each frame basks in colour and light and oozes sensuality. However, what is most enjoyable is the subtle sense of humour which penetrates the whole piece and leaves you smiling all the way out of the cinema.
Screened in Director’s Fortnight at Cannes and at the London Film Festival.