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| courtesy Sundance Institute Three sisters -- May (Cherien Dabis), Yasmine (Nadine Malouf) and Dalia (Alia Shawkat) -- play at the Dead Sea, in a scene from "May in the Summer." The comedy-drama, directed and written by Dabis, plays in the U.S. Dramatic competition of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Sundance review: "May in the Summer"
First Published Jan 18 2013 07:58 am • Last Updated Jan 18 2013 07:58 am

"May in the Summer"

U.S. Dramatic competition

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*** (three stars)

Writer-director Cherien Dabis (whose "Amreeka" debuted at Sundance in 2009) steps in front of the camera, giving a sympathetic performance in this engaging story of sisters navigating love and family problems. Dabis plays May, a New York-based author who has arrived in Jordan for her wedding to a Muslim-born academic (Alexander Siddig). Her sisters -- ditzy Yasmine (Nadine Malouf) and acerbic Dalia (Alia Shawkat) -- have also flown in, and all must deal with their devoutly Christian mom (Hiam Abbass) and their philandering dad (Bill Pullman). The family relationships occasionally pull focus from the movie's central drama, as May has second thoughts about marriage. But Dabis' wise observations, of the blurred cultural lines that these modern women encounter in an ancient land, make "May in the Summer" fascinating.

- Sean P. Means

"May in the Summer" screens again: Friday, 8:30 a.m., The MARC Theatre, Park City; Friday, 6 p.m., Sundance Screening Room, Sundance resort; Sunday, 12:15 p.m., Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Salt Lake City; Tuesday, 7 p.m., Redstone Cinema 2, Park City ("Townie Tuesday" screening); Thursday, 6 p.m., Yarrow Hotel Theatre, Park City.

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