Ray Fearon stars in Eli King’s film about the historical tale of Fatima.
Hitting US theatres on December 10 is ‘Lady of Heaven.’ One of a kind, the film is set to become the first to portray the story of Fatima on the silver screen, during and after the life of her father, the prophet Muhammad.
The story takes place in two eras, one during the lifetime of Fatima, the other in present-day Iraq, both 1400 years apart. The protagonist of the story in the present day is a young Iraqi boy Laith (Gabriel Cartade), who loses his mother, also called Fatima, when ISIS takes control of their village in Iraq.
Taken in by a mentor-like Iraqi soldier and his elderly mother (Denise Black), the boy is told the historical story of Lady Fatima, where our story suddenly finds us back 1400 years in Medina.
The light alone in this movie could be responsible for the title. Throughout the film, an orange glow beams on the characters and definitely sets a heavenly color tone for the entire story. It’s no surprise that Lady of Heaven took home Best Visual Effects at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Although not all scenes are pleasing to the eye, look away if you are faint-hearted. A
s Muhammed and his followers create roots in Medina building a mosque, a bloody battle ensues as they are attacked by the pagans. Within a few minutes, I felt I was watching the season finale of Game of Thrones, as men on horses ravaged the opposing army. Luckily the film is narrated throughout by Black, whose soft voice lends a hand to recounting the story in a poignant portrayal.
Escaping the grasps of the attacking army, Muhammad asks God to protect his family and announces to his followers that Ali, his cousin, will succeed him. From this moment on, the film’s spotlight shines on Ali and his followers for much of the film, leaving our ‘Lady of Heaven’ in the dark.
It begs to question why Fatima’s name is in the film title, as it is hardly about her. Instead, the film comes across as more of a history lesson of the marriage between Fatima and her father’s cousin Ali, the death of Muhammad, and the resulting split between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
Transitioning back to the modern-day, the young Laith sees the importance of Fatima’s message announcing that ‘everyone should know the story of Fatima.’
The Lady of Heaven: Rated R for wartime violence. Running time: 2 hours 21 minutes. In theaters December 10, 2021.