The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a political drama, directed by Mira Nair, to a screenplay by William Wheeler and Rutvik Oza. Based on a 2007 novel of the same title, which was written by Mohsin Hamid, it tells the story of a USA alien resident, named Changez from Pakistan. Changez, who was educated at Princeton and later finds work at a lucrative American corporation, loves the USA. He is a smart, ambitious young man, who sees a future for himself in America; that is, until 9/11. After that, everything changes.
Though the story's premise is interesting and engaging, I found the film adaptation to be heavy-handed. Nair has a tendency towards overstatement and sentimentality, which may have worked in some of her previous films, but proves damaging in this case. I will mention that many other critics did love the film. I, for one, find it to be an oversimplification of the human psyche. It is predictable in a way that is tiring, and its ending, which is an unrealistic call for forgiveness and peace, in my opinion, adds insult to injury as far as the audience's inteligence is concerned. Some of the issues I found with The Reluctant Fundamentalist may stem from the original best-selling novel, which I have not read. Yet much seems to be the director's own poor choices and style.
On the positive side, acting, for the most part, especially by the main character of Riz Ahmed, is noteworthy. Ahmed is able to convey sensitivity, ambitious, fragility and sturdiness, all without losing credibility.