Everything about this film is tired and dated, although the ending is marginally redeeming.
This review of the Netflix romantic comedy film Meskina does not contain spoilers.
Netflix once said they would release new movies ‘every week, all year’, which sounded amazing at the time but in reality meant that the overall quality of these films would inevitably suffer. It’s impossible to debut a critically acclaimed film every week, forever. The quality may be unpredictable but the quantity is always consistent, with Netflix steadily releasing new content every Friday. Meskina is the latest offering from the streaming giants, a Dutch rom-com where the romance is clichéd and the comedy is dated.
The title ‘Meskina’ roughly translates as pathetic and that is how most people see Leyla. She’s thirty years old, single, unemployed, and socially inept due to her agoraphobia. Her mother is desperate to set her up with a partner and at the opening wedding, the mother is in luck. Leyla meets wealthy, successful music producer Abdelkarim. He offers her a job and the smooth-talking bachelor sweeps her off her feet. Through a hasty montage, the couple wed. That was quick!
The filmmakers love a good montage and this movie is full of them. Other stylistic choices include Leyla’s fourth-wall-breaking narration and the irritating use of the pause button. She literally pauses the footage to add a witty retort, repeatedly. These old-fashioned gimmicks are much like the humor, early noughties trends that have long been forgotten. This is an unfunny film after all. Leyla’s sister Amira shouts out tired catchphrases and makes rude gestures like some rejected Mike Myers character. The film is stuck in the past, which cheapens the overall effect.
Four years later and their romance is dead. Leyla dresses like a risqué nurse to try and reignite some passion in their marriage, but it becomes clear that Abdelkarim is having an affair. Leyla moves back in with her mother and the whole process starts all over again. Leyla’s mother and sister both play cupid, attempting to set Leyla up with a new man. Through further montages, she goes on a dating spree and then ends up with two potential candidates at once. Leyla struggles to date these two men simultaneously and there is some fun to be had from this dilemma.
In the end, Meskina reverts back to its rom-com formula with average results. There is a sweet subplot involving Leyla’s mum and the theme of family values is endearing, yet this is a tired, banal affair, with archaic notions on marriage and love.