A True Story of “A Mighty Heart”

“A Mighty Heart.” The title itself tells the movie’s main theme. A woman needs a mighty heart to stay calm when her life partner is kidnapped and she is pregnant and in a different country. Directed by Michael Winterbottom and released in 2007, the suspenseful movie portrays a real picture of war that hits the people’s emotion.

The movie is based on a book named “A Mighty Heart,” written by Mariane Pearl, which entails a true story of her (Angelina Jolie) and her husband Daniel Pearl (Dan Futterman).

They had gone to Pakistan the day after Sept. 11 incident to cover the war in bordering Afghanistan. They almost had finished their job there except one interview that Daniel had to take of a religious leader. When he set off for the interview, he was kidnapped by terrorists and the story begins.

From here, the tension grows that captures the viewers as well. After the kidnap, the Pakistani Police, Embassy personnel, FBI, and Mariane align to search each and every link that may connect them to him. Along with them, viewers will also feel the stress and ask themselves where is he?

As the movie is based on a true story, the director successfully made it as realistic as possible. It starts with some original video clips of Pakistan that shows the terror of a war. The movie shows the actual scenario of Karachi, Pakistan with noise, crowd, and the original hustle and bustle of a city in a developing country. To produce the realistic mood, the actual sound of the environment, such as, honks of vehicles, children crying, the sound of azan and Hindi music, played in the radio, is comprised, avoiding background music.

Viewer can also see the original video clips of Collin Powell, former US Secretary of State and Parvez Musharraf, former Prime Minister of Pakistan. When the incident originally happened back in 2002, Colin Powell and Parvez Musharraf had given their comment on it in front of the news media, which is used in the movie to make it more authentic.

The stress is visible in the makeup and costumes of the characters as well. Here, Angelina Jolie, wearing a plain top, just wraps herself with a shawl for a TV interview. Dark circles are also seen as if she was originally not sleeping for days.

In the movie, Angelina Jolie is seen spreading her well-known charm with the husky voice, but in a bit different look. Here she is with curly hair and plain make up which goes with the character.

Dan Futterman also perfectly fit the character of Daniel as they look almost alike having the same structure and smile.

Here, Angelina portrays a woman with determination and strong will to get her husband back. She didn’t let herself shatter out of depression and worked actively with the force. Her courage and willpower unfold when she says, “Their point is to terrorize people, right? I am not terrorized.”

Moreover, from her dialogue and interviews with news channel, she is found not having any wrath for the Pakistanis or even the terrorists for kidnapping her husband because she is not the only victim of the whole thing. From this aspect, viewers can see how the director tried to spread a message of peace and unity.

But somehow the depression was in plain sight when Mariane burst into tears, or there was frequent use of swear words. At this point, the director has put effort to show the pain of losing someone near and dear while having a remembrance of him inside the womb. Viewers can feel the longing when Mariane reminisces the happy moment shared with Daniel.

From all the aspects mentioned above, the movie was a success having 1,355 screenings in the opening weekend. Like his movie “In This World” (2002), Winterbottom has fruitfully showed the intense situation of invaded Afghanistan and how does it affect the neighboring country, Pakistan as well. Viewers will get the hint of wartime and feel involved in the movie as well. Till the end viewer will be questioning themselves about the existence of Daniel Pearl like the characters in the movie and feel sympathy for Mariane at the same time.


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