Beirut doesn’t often get good press, so it’s a treat to see its lighter side in this gentle comedy about a Lebanese beauty salon where romantic quandaries and hair removal go hand in hand. Director and co-writer Nadine Labaki plays Layale, parlour owner and lovelorn singleton locked in a thankless affair with a married man. Around her rotate an assortment of similar unfortunates – an ageing actress trying to mask her advancing years, a closeted lesbian smitten with a female client and a bride-in-waiting who’s not quite the virgin her fiancé believes her to be. Together these plot strands form a celebration of female pluck and resilience that offers a tart riposte to Lebanon’s oppressive male patriarchy. The title, btw, refers to a toffee-like goo used to eradicate unwanted follicles…
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