The kids and teachers get good grades during their perspectives of the Lebanon War.

“1982” is the better movie about a would-be romance during a historic moment than “Eiffel” was. That film was set during the construction of the Eiffel Tower, while the genius Gustave Eiffel was dealing with a fictional love story of his own, and it failed to keep both fiction and nonfiction elements on the right pacing. This one is obviously set in 1982 during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and has a truthful and gripping perspective from a school and its students and staff.

In the movie, the students are in the middle of exams, just as bombs are going off and planes are shooting at each other. The staff would eventually come to their senses and send the children home, although traffic jams would be insane.

Writer/director Oualid Mouaness doesn’t guarantee much depth in the screenplay, but he does guarantee the sincerity and emotions of the characters who deal with this event through fear and questions, while providing some sweetness within the children on the side.

The romance pertains to young Wassim (Mohamad Dalli), who is in love with his classmate Joanna (Gia Madi), despite their different locations and religions. His mother thinks he’s too young to fall in love, but she doesn’t know her own son. However, he doesn’t have the courage to tell her himself, which is why he leaves a note in her locker without signing it. She reads it and isn’t offended or uncomfortable. In fact, she wants to know who her secret admirer is.

Among the staff is their teacher Yasmine (Nadine Labaki), who’s worried about her family, particularly her brother Georges, who is in the militia in the wrong place at the wrong time. Parts of the movie have her telling her students “Eyes own your paper,” so she can try to prevent them from looking outside at the horrors that are about to emerge. And parts of the movie have her telling her fellow teacher Joseph (Rodrigue Sleiman) about her stress and worrying.

A movie like “1982” would have the courage to represent a child’s reaction to such a historic event like the Lebanon War. It’s described partly as a Sci-Fi film, because the boy draws some robots and creatures, and there’s a scene later in the film when one of the drawings comes to life to join in the battle. At least I think that’s the reason, as I only saw it in the romance, history, and drama categories. Either way, I loved the colors and textures in the ways the images transcends from one format to another without seeming so flimsy.

The performances from Dalli, Madi, and Labaki are all excellent in the ways they shift in moods and tones. The boy struggles to find the courage within to tell the girl his true feelings for her, while the teacher constantly fears for her family. And even though there’s not an accurate reason for a falling out between them, I still think Ghassan Maalouf adds a nice touch to Wassim’s best friend Majid. It almost like Archie Yates in “Jojo Rabbit” in a way.

I never understand every religious beliefs in any movie or show, but I try my best. But I’m mostly supportive of their stories and personalities in the ways the actors portrays their characters in different realities with different circumstances. The films to portray them can be told in timely fashions, especially since history has a way of repeating itself. “1982” is no exception and Oualid Mouaness tells it like is was.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Opens at QUAD Cinema in NYC This Friday

Opens June 24 in La and Spreads in Select Theaters Nationwide

Throughout This Summer

Categories: Drama, History, Romance, Sci Fi

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