I am generally speaking a buff of foreign and indie movies, and when I saw this in the foreign movie section at my local library, I picked it up, knowing very little about the movie. I must say I was unprepared for what I was about to watch.
"When We Leave" (terrible movie title; originally titled in German "Die Fremde" or "The Alien"; originally releases in 2010; 119 min.) brings the story of a Turlish married woman getting out of a domestic abusive relationship. She takes her young son and moves back to Germany, where the rest of her family is (Turkish immigrants in Berlin). You might think that seeking help from her family would be a good move, but you might be wrong. Because she is considered to "belong" to her husband, no matter what, she brings dishonor on her own family. Things get from bat to worse: she is beaten, harrassed, threatened, etc. Not to mention that her son is also deemed to "belong" to his father, and so she needs to protect him from being kidnapped BY HER OWN PARENTS AND SIBLINGS. With family like that, who needs enemies? I won't spoil the outcome of how it plays out, but I'm not spilling any secrets that this is not your typical Hollywood fare, where you just know there will be a happy ending. Doom and gloom persist throughout.
This is one of the best movies that I have seen this year, and I've seen quite a few. I can't help but feel so sorry for millions of women whose happiness apparently is utterly irrelevant, and where the family's "honor" takes precedence over anything and everything, This movie won a bunch of awards in 2010-11, although amazingly it was not nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film. Lead actress Sibel Kekilli is simply outstanding (shw won the German equivalent of the Oscar for this performance). By all means, do not miss a chance to see this movie! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.