Magalir Mattum movie review: In melodramatic feminist film, lead actors' camaraderie only saving grace
Jyothika’s latest Magalir Mattum directed by Bramma who made the critically acclaimed Kuttram Kadithal is a feel-good film which talks about women wanting to break the shackles of male domination. The story is about a gang of four women led by Jyothika, who go on a road trip to rejuvenate themselves from patriarchy and male chauvinism. The subject is interesting, but the treatment is hackneyed and long-drawn-out.
Prabhavathi (Jyothika) is a modern-day documentary filmmaker and feminist who makes films on women empowerment and social issues. She dresses fashionably, sporting aviators and riding a Bullet motorbike. During her interviews with women from various strata of society, she realises that all of them feel oppressed and are leading unhappy lives due to male domination. She stays with her future mother-in-law Komathi (Urvasi), who she lovingly calls Gomz, and they are more like friends.
The uber-cool Prabhavathi decides to take Gomz and two of her childhood friends Subbulakshmi (Saranya) and Rani Amrithakumari (Bhanupriya) whom she got in touch via Facebook, on a road trip. In a flashback portions, the back story of the three good friends from their early childhood and bonding is thrust into the narrative by the director. Two of them now lead unhappy lives for the sake of the family. Prabhavathi unites them and takes them along on a road trip to rekindle old memories and provide a liberating experience.
The men in the film, like Nasser and Livingstone, are all wimps and they are there to subjugate women. Madhavan makes a sensational special appearance in the last reel as Jyothika's lover — a ‘Mr Nice Guy’. The highlight of the film is the on-screen bonding of the four female characters — all fine actresses — which crackles. The film has its heart in the right place, but it is the treatment and the way it relies on melodrama and long and boring flashback scenes which is a let-down. Jyothika's characterisation, with that swag and her mannerism of a superstar, stick out like a sore thumb.
One of the redeeming features of the film is the music of Ghibran. The film, at 2 hours and 20 minutes is also a bit stretched, but the camaraderie of its lead actors saves the film to a certain extent.