Leyla Everlasting

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Leyla Everlasting Movie Poster Image
Comic tale of man wanting to kill wife is awful; language.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 112 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Women are portrayed as oblivious dolts or scheming gold diggers. Men are portrayed as hardwired to kill and will do so at little provocation. "Being a man is an innate defect." "Murder is easy. Making it look like an accident is hard."

Positive Role Models

Leyla is calm and cheerful even in the face of repeated attempts on her life. Adem is anxious and prone to making bad decisions. Nergis wants to live in a mansion and most of her actions are in furtherance of that goal.

Violence

People die or are killed comically. The weapons include guns, knives, a grandfather clock, and a soapy window ledge. A man faints whenever he sees a corpse, the result of having had a dead, pajama-clad great uncle fall on him from a great height when he was a child. That memory is replayed for comic effect.  A man keys someone's car. A woman threatens to drive a nail into her lover's temple.

Sex

Rapid editing of hands entwined, accompanied by heavy breathing, create the illusion of passionate sex. A man has an affair with his therapist.

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "p--k," "ass," "crap," "butt," "damn," "hell," "douche," "wussy," and "piss." A man gives someone the finger.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Leyla Everlasting is a Turkish 2020 film about a man in his 60s who launches repeated, comic murder attempts against his wealthy wife in his quest to take her money and marry their much younger marriage counselor. Passion is a subject, as are art theft and murder. Women are portrayed as oblivious dolts or scheming gold diggers. Men are portrayed as hardwired to kill, doing so at little provocation. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "pr--k," "ass," "crap," "butt," "damn," "hell," "douche," "wussy," and "piss." Adults drink alcohol.

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What's the story?

Adem (Haluk Bilginer) and Leyla (Demet Akbag) have enjoyed a long marriage when we meet them in LEYLA EVERLASTING.  Both in their 60s, they consult a clueless and self absorbed marriage therapist named Nergis (Elcin Sangu). "I don't like to think. It's not good for my brain," she complains. "I feel depressed when I think about anything but myself," she also admits. Therapy is further complicated by the fact that Nergis and Adem are having a torrid affair. He wants a divorce from Leyla, as well as all their money, and decides that arranging a fatal "accident" for Leyla would clear the way for marriage with the far younger therapist. After Leyla survives nine comic attempts on her life, including death by falling grandfather clock, we learn she's an immortal, the woman created before Eve, also known as Lilith, and she has been through this all before. Will Adem ever be free?

Is it any good?

At nearly two hours, Leyla Everlasting feels too long, but its lack of focus and contradictory points of view about men and women make it nearly incomprehensible, if not entirely pointless. This is an example of self indulgent filmmaking at its worst from a writer-director demonstrating no clear grasp of fundamental concepts like pacing, character development, logical consistency, storytelling, or how to support flailing actors.

The material comes from a Turkish stage play and perhaps the cultural jump to America is the problem, but it would be difficult to imagine this working in any language or culture. Perhaps this is a treat for Turkish viewers familiar with the well-known Bilginer and Akbag (she's a great dancer). Perhaps in Turkey these highly competent performers draw viewers in. We might enjoy Meryl Streep and Morgan Freeman mugging and chewing scenery in a screwball comedy, too. But those unfamiliar with these Turkish stars will writhe in empathetic discomfort for their plight. No one should have to be in a movie this bad.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to make sense of the warring messages of this movie. Women are presented as scheming, shallow, and manipulative, but also wise and all-knowing, far more enlightened than men, who are only interested in showing women their love by killing. Do you find any of this believable? Why or why not?

  • How do magic and otherworldly powers fuel the action? Do they draw you in or raise questions about the movie's premises?

  • Do the pronouncements about innate female and male traits feel convincing or contradictory? What do you think the movie wants you to think about women and men?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

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