Not Without my Daughter is neither. It's not just a textbook for the basics of Iran, like how you must wear a hoodie over your forehead if A: You have hair that shows and: Not or; and; B: You're a girl. It's also a biography. Generally, biography movies aren't my type. There are movies like The Social Network that do this nicely even if they are going to insult and embarrass a few people, but count me out with giving this movie a like.
Thirty years ago, which actually wasn't that long ago, Betty Mahmoody (Sally Field) was guilt-tripped into taking a vacation with her husband, Moody is the nickname (played by Alfred Molina) so that he could visit his family in Iran, but after being fired from his job as a doctor in America, you sort of get the feeling he likes the country a little too much. Anyway, with the title "Not Without my Daughter", there's obviously a daughter in the family of the Mahmoody's, which there is, named Mahtob.
They were supposed to stay for two weeks, and if I was Moody, I wouldn't be surprised if Betty asked to go home after less than one week in Iran. Apparently, there, women are seen as, or at least treated like aliens, if they can't go out in public with that dress code I mentioned before. Not even someone Mahtob's age. Now, Iran is not as bad as North Korea, where if you're born there, you stay forever, or else prisons that spell "death" with a period, greet you, but for Betty's situation, it's exactly like that. Moody reveals when the two weeks are over that he was planning from the start to stay with his full family to try and live there. All of a sudden, the family turns out to be prison guards, and now, with everyone turning Betty down for help, she decides to find a way to be smuggled out when she all of a sudden gets abused.
That's what I didn't enjoy about this movie. Not that Betty tried and may or may not have successfully escaped. I did like that. The problem is the horrid Act 2, where everything, like Iran's rules, don't make a lick of sense. Everyone usually doesn't make sense whenever drunk, like how Moody acts, but he so badly wants Mahtob to be a hero for Iran, and if dead (or probably dead) a martyr. A husband doing something that would cause a year sentence or more goes unnoticed and maybe even encouraged. But the worst part is when Betty and Mahtob keep going back to the dreaded household of the Mahmoody's. I know what you're thinking: It's based on a true story." Well, Moody even said he'd do something unforgivable if attempting escape again. After he tries to stay true to his word, Betty runs off to a phone, and I was really hoping she'd take camp under a hill or something, but they just go back and the next day, Moody does it again, this time with Mahtob. He walks out with her and Betty more or less lets him. She could've gone out the window and chased after them, right? She didn't.
But in the end, she does show Moody and she flees, which will be intense, especially since there aren't any subtitles for the foreign languages, I guess put in there because we're seeing it from Betty's perspective. It is also heartwarming how a stranger sees her trouble, helps her, and they hug before the depart, but enjoying Act 2 is like trying to climb up Mount Everest with wind shoving you back.