New to Netflix today is the Turkish dark drama-comedy, Oh Belinda (aka Aaahh Belinda). The movie – directed by Deniz Yorulmazer – stars Neslihan Atagül, Serkan Çayoglu, and Necip Memili, and follows the story of an actress who has her life turned upside down in an unexpected way.
In the movie, Dilara is a self-focused, short-tempered actress, who aspires to be very successful. However, while she wishes to be associated with the best roles available, the reality is her latest booking is a commercial for a new shampoo called Belinda – a product she doesn’t want to be involved with.
But on the insistence of her agent, Dilara takes the booking, and begins to shoot the commercial. At first, the shoot doesn’t go so well, but after a while, once Dilara steps under a shower head, she believes she’s completed the perfect take and nailed the job she’s being paid to do.
However, after stepping back out of the water, Dilara is surprised to discover the film set has transformed into a real-life bathroom. And when she takes a look around, she can no longer see the crew or the director of the commercial, and no one is filming her.
Stepping out of the bathroom, she quickly discovers things aren’t what they should be. For reasons unknown to her, Dilara is now called Handan, she’s a wife and mother to two children, she lives an ordinary life, and she’s far from the actress she was.
Is Dilara having some kind of mental breakdown, is she merely dreaming, or has she suddenly become a different person? And whatever has caused this shift in her life, how will she return to normal?
It’s fair to say that if you’ve watched any kind of body-swap or alternate reality movie over the last few decades, then essentially you’ve seen the story of Oh Belinda before. The concept of a central character suddenly finding themselves living a life they don’t recognise, is a well-worn trope, that has cropped up time-and-time again.
But the movie industry loves well-worn tropes, and it’s not unusual to see ideas recycled. The key is to add something new to the mix, to keep the idea fresh, and this in turn makes revisiting the concept worthwhile.
Sadly, Oh Belinda doesn’t really add anything new to the mix, nor is it particularly imaginative. It mostly does what you expect, when you expect it to happen, and it just kind of meanders along without any major excitement.
The film’s not awful, but it’s not particularly great either. Some parts work fine, others less so, but the end result is nothing that’s going to break any new ground.
Lead actress Neslihan Atagül does well with the part she is given, but unfortunately her character isn’t particularly likeable. Dilara is an arse before she gets a life-swap, and remains an arse for quite some time after she becomes Handan, so it is very difficult to feel any pity for her.
Sure, the point of Dliara’s transformation is to get her to mend her ways, and to see that an alternate life could be more fulfilling, but the film doesn’t do a great way of conveying this. It also feels a bit dour and mean-spirited at times, with all attempts at comedy missing the mark.
On the plus side, as mentioned above, it’s not awful, it’s just a shame that it never quite goes anywhere interesting. OK, so there are moments here and there, but it’s nothing to write home about.
Ultimately, Oh Belinda feels like a missed opportunity and one which is not worth all the fuss. The film runs around 90-minutes, yet drags a little in places, and unless you’re desperate to check it out, you won’t be too bothered if you give it a miss.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review on It’s A Stampede!. For more reviews, check out the recommended reads below.
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