May in the Summer

Cherien Dabis (Amreeka) wrote, directed, and stars in this middling 2013 drama, playing a successful Palestinian writer in New York who harbors doubts about her impending marriage. She travels to Jordan to visit her mother, a Palestinian Christian, and is joined by her two younger sisters, who’ve been living in America as well. After a few weeks’ worth of blandly written, indifferently staged girl talk, all four characters solve their personal problems and renew their familial bonds. Dabis’s character comes off as a self-serving fantasy: her neuroses are made to seem charming while the sisters are plainly immature fuck-ups, and everywhere she goes people tell her what a great writer she is. Rounding out the cast are Alia Shawkat, Hiam Abbas, and Bill Pullman as the sisters’ estranged father, a callow American ambassador. In English and subtitled Arabic.