Jinn is a good-natured coming-of-age drama with some dramatic venom just in time


Young Summer is a quintessential free American teen at the beginning of the good-natured coming-of-age drama Jinn. In her room she dances like in a music video. At a pizza restaurant, she casually flirts with the girl behind the counter. After high school she wants to go to the dance academy, a film of an old classmate who has started pole dancing is considered as inspiration. Frivolous and playful she explores her identity that has yet to be formed.

So Summer frowns when her single mother, a well-known TV weather forecaster, suddenly converts to Islam. She doesn’t like the mosque. Are women in a separate room there? Summer’s father encourages her to open up to Mother’s new calling: The whole conversion is probably just a phase.

After a grumpy first visit in the wake of mother, it turns out that everything is not so bad, that mosque. Debuting director-screenwriter Nijla Mu’min films the space as a sun-drenched meeting place – glowing and lyrical, where men and women can simply stare. Summer also flutters effortlessly into this world. Who knows what she will find in her path.

The scenario of Jinn takes, in the spirit of the main character, barely legible giant steps here and there; a handful of film minutes later, Summer is also gone and she adds a pinch of Islam to life. It comes as a matter of fact that Zoë Renee proves herself as a great acting talent. She nevertheless makes the restless multiplicity of Summer plausible.

You gradually feel that Mu’min draws from his own experience. In interviews, she tells how her mother turned to Islamic prayer before dinner, while also drinking beer. Bringing forth a less coercive interpretation of Islam was a mission. Summer smokes a joint while telling a friend about her intention to speak the Shahada, the Islamic confession of faith, in the local mosque soon. She impulsively uploads a selfie with hijab and shirtless, in a provocative panther print bra.

But when that photo goes viral, her hyper-free interpretation of faith hits a hard line. From the kind imam to her converted mother, everyone is furious.

For the beautifully played, but so far also a bit didactic Jinn this dramatic venom comes just in time.



★★★ ☆☆

Directed by Nijla Mu’min

Starring Zoë Renee, Simone Missick, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Dorian Missick

93 min., viewable via Picl


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