Do you have a couple hours and want to watch a really cute summer movie? Well check out Sonsuz Ask (Eternal Love), a 2017 gem starring Murat Yildrim and Fahriye Ozcivit. If you’re like me, you’re more drawn to Turkish dizis than Turkish movies but every once in a while one pops up that is worth writing about. I watched Sonsuz Ask last year when I was traveling abroad for work and I was pleasantly surprised, so I decided to watch it again this summer during the COVID pandemic. Thanks to COVID I’ve been revisiting many movies and series.
The movie, which was filmed in Istanbul and on the exquisite Cunda Island on Turkey’s northwestern coast, has a light and airy feel to it, though the subject matter is anything but. In addition to the brilliant acting and the absorbing screenplay, the movie is graced by the beautiful music of the incomparable Toygar Isikli and Cem Adrian among others. I had seen the Hollywood movie Maid in Manhattan with Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes, a few years back, and there are some similarities between the two, though as usual, the Turkish version takes a whole different approach. More specifically, while Hollywood focuses on the obvious, (in the case of Maid in Manhattan it’s the class disparity), the Turkish production focuses on the more innate elements of sacrifice and integrity.
Similar to Maid in Manhattan, Sonsuz Ask is about two people at complete opposite ends of the spectrum who fall in love due to a stroke of fate. But unlike the Hollywood movie, fate twists and turns puts our Turkish characters to the ultimate test. Can is a brilliant and successful surgeon and professor, and Zeynep is a poor cleaning lady who cleans his house. Besides their social status the two cannot be more different in personality. Can is a dedicated workaholic whose every moment is planned out, but who never actually enjoys the moment. While Zeynep, on the other hand, is all about the ‘moment’. She takes pleasure in the little things in life and lives her modest life to the fullest.
When the two help each other overcome a difficult situation, the unexpected happens and they fall in love.
Time suddenly stops for Can and Zeynep when they discover their love. And after successfully navigating the many challenges, and overcoming all prejudices, they achieve the impossible. The rigid, serious surgeon softens. He learns the value of precious time, and learns to let go. But just at that moment, life tests them in the most unpredictable way.
I won’t give it away but keep the Kleenex handy. I don’t usually like movies where I have to cry, but this one was so cleverly interspersed with touches of comedy and spectacular cinematography that I didn’t mind! Throughout the movie, I was reminded of the iconic 1970’s Hollywood movie Love Story. Zeynep’s sunny disposition and colorful personality resembled Jenny’s, and Can’s austerity that of Oliver. Similar to Oliver, Can, who had never before taken a moment to think about the people in his life, sacrificed so greatly for the woman he loved. Even the musical composition is reminiscent of Love Story. Sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes light-hearted, together with the cinematography transforming a tragic story into a romantic comedy. And of course, the excellent acting doesn’t hurt either. Those of you who remember Murat Yildrim in the classic TV series Asi, won’t be disappointed. Suffice it to say he was brilliantly cast in his role.
Since its release in March 2017, Sonsuz Ask has been a favorite with Turkish audiences and international audiences alike. It’s so popular that the Turkish TV channel, Star TV, broadcast it for its audiences in March of this year. The movie broke records on its release in Spain in 2018, reaching more than 2 million viewers and garnering a 16.1 percent rating.
I give this cross between Maid in Manhattan and Love Story an 8 out 10.
Here’s the trailer with English closed caption. You’ll have to watch it in YouTube and turn on CC.
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