“Three Thousand Years of Longing,” released in 2022, might not have set the box office on fire, but with 18 award nominations and 4 wins under its belt, it’s clear this flick struck a chord with some. Critics and audiences alike have been divided, with reviews ranging from “gorgeous and enchanting” to “not quite what I wished for.” It’s this polarizing nature that proves George Miller’s ability to create films that linger in the mind long after the credits roll, sparking debates and discussions among cinephiles.

Rating: 3.5/5

Director: George Miller

Writers: George Miller, Augusta Gore, and A.S. Byatt

Stars: Tilda Swinton, Idris Elba, and Erdil Yasaroglu


Imagine this: a bookish narratologist (Tilda Swinton) finds herself in a plush Istanbul hotel room, face-to-face with a mighty djinn (Idris Elba) she’s accidentally freed from an old bottle. Instead of jumping at the chance for three wishes, she’s hesitant – after all, she knows how these stories usually end. What unfolds is a mesmerizing dance of storytelling, as the djinn recounts his 3000-year journey through history, love, and loss. It’s less about magical action and more about the power of stories themselves.

What’s Good:

A Visual Feast: Miller flexes his creative muscles, delivering stunning vignettes that span millennia. From ancient harems to modern cityscapes, each frame is a painting come to life.

Intellectual Playground: This isn’t your average fantasy flick. It dives deep into heady themes like the nature of desire, the role of stories in our lives, and what it truly means to connect with another being.

Swinton and Elba: Talk about star power! These two heavyweights bring gravitas and nuance to their roles. Their chemistry crackles, even when they’re just chatting in a hotel room.

The team of Three Thousand Years Of Longing
The team of Three Thousand Years Of Longing at the Cannes Film Festival.

Ambitious Storytelling: Miller weaves a tapestry of tales within tales, each one adding depth to the overall narrative. It’s like a Russian nesting doll of stories, each one revealing something new.

Enchanting Atmosphere: There’s a dreamlike quality to the whole affair. At its best, the film casts a spell that’s hard to shake off, transporting you across time and space.

What’s Bad:

Pacing Woes: Let’s be real – this isn’t a rollercoaster ride. The deliberate pacing might test the patience of viewers expecting more action and less conversation.

Expectations vs. Reality: If you walked in expecting “Mad Max: Fury Road” meets “Aladdin,” you’re in for a shock. This is a more contemplative beast, which might disappoint those looking for Miller’s trademark action sequences.

  1. Third Act Fumble: After building up such an intriguing premise, the film’s conclusion feels a bit… underwhelming. It’s like being served a gourmet meal only to have a mediocre dessert.
  2. Tonal Whiplash: The film sometimes struggles to maintain a consistent tone. One moment you’re in a historical epic, the next you’re in a modern-day romance. The transitions aren’t always smooth.
  3. Emotional Distance: For all its grand ideas and visual splendor, some viewers might find it hard to emotionally connect with the characters. It’s intellectually stimulating but sometimes lacks that gut-punch of feeling.

In the end, “Three Thousand Years of Longing” is like that quirky, brilliant friend who’s always spouting fascinating ideas but sometimes forgets to read the room. It’s not for everyone, but for those willing to go along for the ride, it offers a unique cinematic experience that’s both frustrating and rewarding in equal measure. If you’re in the mood for a film that’ll make you think as much as it’ll dazzle your eyes, give it a shot. Just don’t expect your standard wish-granting romp.

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