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Movie Review: Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet

Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet is an artistic animated film that adapts eight of the Lebanese poet's most famous pieces from The Prophet. Produced by and featuring the voice talents of Salma Hayek (who's of Lebanese descent), the movie's story about a political prisoner (voiced by Liam Neeson) is a framing device that's interwoven with vignettes interpreting the poems. Two of the segments include couples kissing fairly passionately and dancing a sultry tango. The complexity of the dialogue and the big themes might be a bit mature for some kids, but older tweens and teens still interested in animation may find it a thought-provoking exploration of life's big issues.

Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet is one of the most enduring pieces of inspirational fiction and spiritual enlightenment in world literature. The film is a labor of love from producer/star Salma Hayek (who is of Lebanese ancestry on her father's side) and a collaboration with a series of well-known animators. The framing story follows Almitra (voiced by Quvenzhane Wallis) a selectively mute, curious young girl who accompanies her widowed mom (Hayek) to her job caring for a political prisoner, the poet/prophet Mustafa (Liam Neeson). Mustafa is under house arrest in the foreign city of Orphalese, but he's unexpectedly and mysteriously granted amnesty if he immediately returns to his home country. Upon his release, Mustafa grants a series of impromptu sermons/blessings/parables (taken straight from the poetry book) to various people he meets on his way to board the ship bound for home.

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