Forbidden Lie$ Film Review
By Kam Williams
Bio-Pic Exposes Best-Selling "Arab" Author as "American" Fraud
When Norma Khoury published Forbidden Love back in 2003, the heartbreaking memoir about the murder of her best friend was translated in over 15 different languages and became a runaway best-seller all over the world. After all, this was not long after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a time when many Westerners were suddenly struggling to understand Muslim culture.
So, a biography about an ill-fated young Jordanian woman killed by her own father merely for falling in love with a Christian was the type of incendiary tome for which a big publishing house was prepared to pony up a sizable, six-figure advance. The book, which claimed that over 5,000 Jordanian females per year fall victim to such honor killings, turned Khoury into something of a cause celebre, especially since she promised that part of the proceeds would be going to a charity dedicated to helping women in her country escape the oppression supposedly mandated by Islam.
In reality, however, Ms. Khoury was a con artist from Chicago who had been born in Jordan but raised in America from the age of 3. This explains why her tawdry tale was riddled with so many inaccuracies that Random House would've easily uncovered had it hired someone familiar with that region of the Middle East to fact check Forbidden Love prior to going to press.
Furthermore, had the company investigated the author's checkered past, it would have learned that she had fled to Australia from the U.S. in 1999 after fleecing an 89 year-old widow with Alzheimer's of her entire life savings of a half-million dollars. When these and many other shocking truths began to emerge, the book was belatedly recalled, but not before considerable damage had already been done to the image of Islam or before Khoury had raked in a small fortune via sales and speaking engagements.
Directed by Anna Broinowski, Forbidden Lie$ is as fascinating a peek into the mind of a compulsive liar as you will ever see, guaranteed. For some reason, the despicable subject fully cooperated with the project, ostensibly appearing on camera with the aim of clearing her name. However, she proves no match for the brilliant director who arrived well-prepared for their series of contentious tete-a-tetes, capturing revealing interviews on tape during which the slippery sociopath simply hangs herself at every turn.
A chilling, edge-of-your-seat expose' that puts you face-to-face for two hours with the embodiment of pure evil.
Excellent (4 stars)
In English and Arabic with subtitles.
Running time: 104 minutes
Studio: Roxie Releasing
Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze.
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