Last night we hit the NYC premiere of Cairo Time, starring Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig. The film originally premiered at film festivals in 2009, and will now be released at selected theaters on August 6. Patricia plays Juliette, a middle-aged magazine editor planning to meet her husband, a U.N. diplomat in Cairo, Egypt. When her husband gets delayed for a number of days in Gaza organizing peace in the Middle East, Juliette is greeted by her husband’s unmarried Egyptian colleague, played by Alexander. What results is an obvious, but awkward almost-romance. It’s pleasant to watch, with endearing characters, but I expected a bit more heat from a summer travel romance. There’s a lot of waiting around for something steamy to happen–and ultimately, you sense the only hotness is the weather in Cairo.
As much as I wanted to love the movie, it felt a little like walking through the desert–beautiful, but a little uncomfortable. Others had high expectations, too. The Today show’s Hoda Kotb, whose parents grew up in Cairo, was at the screening and was excited about the film. “When I saw the trailer, I was like, I think my Mom lived on that street! I think my Dad lived on that street! When I saw the trailer and I saw the love story I was completely in!” she told Crushable.
The actors seemed to have had fun with the film, even if they don’t see it as Oscar-bound. “It’s a movie that’s a great passion for the people involved in it,” Alexander told us. “It would be really weird to suggest anything more than that. It will please the people it pleases.”
“I loved my character. I want to be her,” Patricia said.