'Evim Sensin': You better cry your heart out!
Now, most of you familiar with Turkish pop culture will have heard the household name Özcan Deniz. He first entered the music scene in the early '90s as an arabesque singer, then moved on to acting in the hit TV drama series "Asmalı Konak" and at the same time started singing songs that had a much more modern ring. In the past few years, he upped his game further by writing and directing a decent romantic comedy "Ya Sonra" (it was a bit macho, but still it had it's odd charm) and most importantly acted in esteemed independent director Yeşim Ustaoğlu's "Araf" (Somewhere in Between). Deniz's newest venture on the big screen is "Evim Sensin" (You're My Home), another romantic comedy, which this time he was commissioned to direct and act in. Small note: The film is adapted almost mot-a-mot from a 2004 Korean movie titled "A Moment to Remember," save for some cultural references.

I don't know where to begin, but forgive me, for the first thing that comes to my mind about this film is this: that Deniz is sizzling hot! Sure I'm a woman, but any man who watches this film will also notice this. The makers of the film have pretty much channeled all their energy into showing Deniz's character İskender as some uber-YMCA dude through well-crafted cinematography, editing and scriptwriting. You see, not only is he super fit, but he's also a talented carpenter who continuously prances around in his overalls (men in uniform!) or undershirt. He's calm, he's protective, he's smart, he's sensual but strong, and he drives an adventure jeep. It's like the guy is the ultimate romantic-comedy/melodrama hero, in fact I could go as far as to say that he outdoes Ryan Gosling in "The Notebook" (ladies, you know what I'm talking about).

As such, with such an improbably ostentatious character as İskender, one has the tendency to forget that "Evim Sensin" is one of the most cheesy, over-sentimental examples of cinema and thanks to its last 20 minutes, you feel like the next time you see your partner/spouse/love interest and decide to go on a date you'll need to first reset your romantic codes.

I don't want to be this harsh, but I have to, because the first hour of the film promises a lot of potential and it's quite charming in its authentic "contemporary Yeşilçam" way. Leyla (Fahriye Evcen, who was also Deniz's girlfriend during the film's shooting) is a sweet little rich girl with a broken heart. She comes from a loving family, and is her father's little darling. She's got a nice suit-tailoring gig going on, on the side. One day she bumps into the gorgeous carpenter İskender, who works at her father's construction site and is immediately swept away by the man. Of course it takes a while before the star-crossed lovers embark on a relationship, since they come from different social groups and İskender is just too cool to open up to the vivacious Leyla. The following sequences show us that in fact they are made for each other, and also some highly comical bits of banter warm our hearts (I'm serious).

It turns out İskender has abandonment issues, and since he's so afraid that Leyla is going to leave him one day he resists her demands on getting married as long as possible. The two eventually wed against all odds, and create for themselves a comfortable middle-class lifestyle in which they genuinely make us believe that love conquers all, through the small things in life.

Oh but then she just has to get sick, doesn't she, and the whole thing has to transform into a crying festival. Leyla suffers from dementia and starts forgetting things. Naturally, she will eventually die in a vegetative state. Does love really conquer all? Will the two lovers stand by each other until the end? Will İskender be able to overcome all the grief of seeing his beloved wife shrivel in his arms? These larger-than-life questions become a bit too grandiose and end up exploiting all our vulnerable emotions and initial empathy we had for these characters.

Sure melodrama is melodrama, and many viewers will cry their hearts out for these two, but please please please, there would have been nothing wrong with placing a bit of breathing room throughout the third act, so we don't suffer an overload of wailing.

"Evim Sensin" is well-acted (the chemistry between the leads is indisputable), well-shot and its efforts in finely tuning eccentric humor is admirable. It could have been a fine example of guilty pleasure cinema if it just were patient enough to fully steer our guilt towards embracing cheesiness. Now the only thing I feel guilty about is not being convinced that love conquers all.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-11-05 20:00:02
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