Synopsis: Abu Raed is a lonely janitor at Amman’s International Airport. Never having realized his dreams of seeing the world, he experiences it vicariously through books and brief encounters with travelers. Finding a discarded Captain’s hat in the trash at work one day, he is followed by a neighborhood boy who spots him wearing it as he walks home. The next morning he wakes up to find a group of neighborhood children at his door, believing him to be an airline pilot. And thus the friendship begins. Happy for the company and attention, he takes the children to colorful places around the world through his fictional stories and inspires them to believe in their own ambitions. Murad, an angry outsider to the group, vindictively attacks Abu Raed and the sense of hope he instills in the children. In his quest to prove that Abu Raed is a liar and a fake, Murad begins to discover new possibilities in his life. Meanwhile, Abu Raed’s friendship with Nour, a real female pilot, begins to grow as she deals with her own set of pressures from life in modern Amman. Captain Abu Raed is the story of everyday people intersecting across social boundaries. It is a story of dreams, friendship, forgiveness, and sacrifice. [Synopsis courtesy of film's official website]
Round-up: Stephen Farber of The Hollywood Reporter admires the film, "Matalqa has crafted a stirring tribute to the invis... ible people in our world who may end up changing our lives more profoundly than high-profile leaders. Nothing is more difficult than making an honest film about a good man, but "Captain Abu Raed" accomplishes the feat." Walter Addiego in the San Francisco Chronicle likes the film saying, "'Captain Abu Raed,' an unaffected melodrama from Jordan, is like the humanistic efforts that made up the first generation of art films to arrive in the United States. It's a simple story told with dignity and aiming for universal relevance." Sam Adams, in the LA Times, is less enthusiastic, "Amin Matalqa's teary drama, 'Captain Abu Raed,' takes its obvious cues from the neorealism of Satyajit Ray and Jean Renoir, but Matalqa doesn't know how to balance melodrama with quiet moments the way the masters did." Variety'sTodd McCarthy notes the film's uniqueness by saying, "One of the film's most welcome achievements is its casually diverse portrait of Amman, rarely seen in cinema. In an everyday, non-touristic way, the pic provides a strong impression of many districts across various economic strata."