The world is on the brink of World War I during the course of this film. It is often on the brink of something in which big change occurs. For the good and for the bad. Change is often scary. Now this is not a scary film per se, but it does have some moving moments. Moments which will prod you to think about your life and life in general. Now, that sounds rather heavy, doesn’t it? But this is not a heavy film. It is a rather enjoyable one.
While watching the film, no matter your situation, you might find yourself thinking about issues like are the people we are taught to fear or even consider to be enemies are just humans. Plain and simple. A few layers to be discovered within all the romance.
Does anyone out there really know what the Ottoman Empire is? Kinda a mystery, no? Well, even though it is part of this film, don’t go in expecting an explanation. Of its origins or nature. That is not really what the focal point is here. Nor is it really a war film either, though conflict is what pushes things forward in the story.
Strip it to its essence, this is a romantic drama. Concerned with affairs of the heart there are moments here, historical ones, which I was not aware of and some of what happens here illuminates what went on during this era.
A young woman, as many young people go through, is frustrated with the world. Lillie (played by Hera Hilmar) turns to a medical doctor she admires. Jude (played by Josh Hartnett) is a doctor who runs a medical mission in a remote part of the Ottoman Empire. Headstrong, Lillie decides to follow him and work at the mission.
Once there she finds herself being taught to fear the Ottomans. Yet, after she meets a lieutenant in the Ottoman Empire named Ismail (played by Michiel Huisman) Lillie quickly and hard for the young man. They are in love. Now, she lives a rather push and pull existence of whether she is being disloyal or can she just be with the man she loves as a war looms on the horizon.