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Love, loniliness, aging, and bad hair
By PETER KEOUGH  |  February 6, 2008
2.5 2.5 Stars
CARAMEL: Yet another beauty salon as microcosm.

Why are beauty salons so popular all over the world as settings for microcosmic movies? In this confection by Nadine Labaki, who also stars, the establishment does business in a Beirut blissfully unscarred by decades of civil wars and invasions, a city where the main problems faced by its five female protagonists are the perennial woes of love, loneliness, aging, and bad hair. Layale (Labaki), the proprietor, is a good Catholic, but she’s 30 and having an affair with a married man. Working for her are Nisrine, whose fiancé doesn’t know she’s not a virgin, and Rima, who’s just finding out she’s a lesbian. Jamale comes in regularly to look younger for the acting auditions she always fails. And Rose the seamstress is really old. The title refers to the syrup used to wax clients’ legs. Like the movie, it’s really sweet, but, as in a hilarious scene in which Layale applies it to her unwitting rival, it can really sting. Arabic + French | 96 minutes | Kendall Square + West Newton
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