The Great Journey

2004 [FRENCH]

Drama / Romance

IMDb Rating 7.2 10 2503

Plot summary

April 11, 2023 at 09:06 AM


Ismaël Ferroukhi

Top cast

Roxane Mesquida as Lisa
944.28 MB
Arabic 2.0
25 fps
1 hr 42 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DICK STEEL 7 / 10

A Nutshell Review: Le Grand Voyage

You'd think you're in for some serious sightseeing when the premise of the movie takes place primarily between two characters as they travel 3000 miles or so from France to Saudi Arabia, going through most of Europe - Italy, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, before arriving in the Middle East. But this is not a tour, and there are no stopovers for soaking in the sights.

Reda's father is in his twilight years, and wishes to do the Haj. However, since walking and taking the mule is out of the question, he chooses to travel to Mecca by car. He can't drive, and therefore enlists the help of Reda, to his son's protest, to get him there in their broken down vehicle.

But Reda doesn't see the point of having him go along, when his dad could opt for the plane. He resents the idea of having put his personal life on hold for this pilgrimage he couldn't understand. And hence, we set off in this arduous journey with father and son, being not the best of pals.

The beauty of this movie is to witness the development of the father and son pair, the challenges they face, the weird people they meet, having to duke it out in varied weather conditions, and alternating rest stops between motels and sleeping in the car. We see an obvious generation gap in them trying to communicate to each other, the father trying to impose on his son, and the son trying to assert himself as an adult, but circumstances we see, reveal that Reda is quite a fish out of water. Through the many encounters, they actually team up quite well despite their differences.

It's perhaps quite apt to have this film released here last week to coincide with Hari Raya Haji, and having the opportunity to watch our protagonists join the other pilgrims in their Haj. The final scene in Mecca is truly a sight to behold, and you too would feel the claustrophobia and fear as Reda tries to hunt down his dad amongst the thousands of people congregating. The sights of Europe were perhaps deliberately not dwelled upon, so as to build up the anticipation of and focus on the final destination.

It certainly rang home the thought of telling and showing loved ones how much you appreciate them for who they are. Don't miss this, and yes, book early - I was pleasantly surprised that this evening's session was still a full house.

Reviewed by PWNYCNY 10 / 10

Outstanding movie.

This movie is great! This movie is beautiful! Finally, a movie that portrays Moslems as PEOPLE, no stereotypes here. This movie is driven by the story, by the acting and above all by its theme, that of cultural affirmation and discovery. They may seem like clichés but they are not, at least not in this movie. The vista of the Grand Mosque of Mecca is absolutely stupendous and the audience is given a glimpse of a side of the Moslem world that is rarely of ever shown in the West. Here the people are caring, supportive, devout, tolerant and devoted to each other. What a welcomed and way overdue departure from the usual negative portrayals of Arabs. Outstanding movie.

Reviewed by planktonrules 8 / 10

Slow moving, but fascinating

Reda is a young Frenchman of Moroccan descent. Despite his Muslim heritage, he is very French in attitudes and values. Out of the blue, his father announces that Reda will be driving him to the Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca--something that Reda has no interest in doing but agrees only out of obligation. As a result, from the start, Reda is angry but being a traditional Muslim man, his father is difficult to talk to or discuss his misgivings. Both father and son seem very rigid and inflexible--and it's very ironic when the Dad tells his son that he should not be so stubborn.

When I read the summary, it talks about how much the characters grew and began to know each other. However, I really don't think they did and that is the fascinating and sad aspect of the film. Sure, there were times of understanding, but so often there was an undercurrent of hostility and repression. I actually liked this and appreciated that there wasn't complete resolution of this--as it would have seemed phony.

Overall, the film is well acted and fascinating--giving Westerners an unusual insight into Islam and the Hajj. It also provides a fascinating juxtaposition of traditional Islam and the secular younger generation. While the slow pace and lack of clarity about the relationship throughout the film may annoy some, I think it gave the film intense realism and made it look like a film about people--not some formula. A nice and unusual film.

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