TIFF ’23: THE QUEEN OF MY DREAMS Blends Bollywood Homages With Poignant Storytelling


Another amazing movie that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2023 is the Canadian-Pakistani film, The Queen Of My Dreams. The story sees the strained relationship between a Pakistani immigrant mother, and her queer Canadian-raised daughter fracture, after the death of the father, who acted as a buffer between the two. The Queen Of My Dreams review focuses on those aspects of the movie that make this such a standout.

Please note: this The Queen Of My Dreams review is spoiler-free.

The Queen Of My Dreams Uses Bollywood In Its Storytelling

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The story of The Queen Of My Dreams is about Azra (Amrit Kaur), the queer daughter of Mariam (Nimra Bucha) and Hassan (Hamza Haq). The mother-daughter relationship is very strained due to unknown reasons, but the dad seems cool. Until a visit to their home country of Pakistan results in the father passing away. So Azra has to head back to a country she doesn’t recognize, to help her mom grieve her husband while dealing with all their issues.

It’s an emotionally charged story with a lot of layers of family drama and hurt feelings. But where The Queen Of My Dreams succeeds is in its depiction of just how progressively rebellious kids become their own parents given the right, or wrong, circumstances. It’s not only a story about Azra and her drama with her mom, but also seeks to look into the mom’s life and why she is distant from a daughter that is very much like her at that age.

Amir Kaur Is A Breathe Of Fresh Air

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Where The Queen Of My Dreams does something different in its storytelling. Writer-director Fawzia Mirza tells a non-linear story that looks at the adolescence of Mariam when she was Azra’s age in the 60s. While also intercutting with the current story of Azra grieving her father. This showcasing of the story of a mother and daughter 30 years apart is such a different narrative structure that it really pulls audiences into the story. And forces them to invest in both Mariam and Azra’s journeys. The delightful Bollywood references and homages add to the immersion into the story.

Their parallels, similarities in thought and events from their youth mirror one another, in a way that helps audiences understand their divide. But more importantly, where in Mariam’s life she diverged from those similarities and became the kind of mom she herself was rebelling against It’s a wonderful case study of how circumstances can change people from their adolescence into adulthood and how that impacts their relationship with their children.

Capturing the Immigrant Experience From The Parents’ POV

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One of the greatest things in this The Queen Of My Dreams review is how it tells the story of the Immigrant experience, but not from the perspective of kids raised in immigrant households. But from that of the immigrants themselves, first hand, from their times in their home country, to how they change upon their arrival into a new country. To start a new life.

Mirza is very careful not to make Mariam the typicalyl harsh and disapproving mom. But rather, explores her story along with Azra’s, which is very unique. Bucha’s performance is so brilliant as you see her transition from hopeful and optimistic to burdened and bitter. Kaur is similarly a revelation. Azra is a brash and outspoken young woman, who is also like that because of her mother’s values, who has, in turn, pushed her away because of them. It’s a tragic tale, that has a lot of humour, but never overstepping either to become manipulative or ridiculous.

Verdict Of This The Queen Of My Dreams Review

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The Queen Of My Dreams is a must-watch for anyone into family dramas, mother-daughter relationships, or just a story that is heartwarming and takes you back to South Asian roots, showcasing culture and the nostalgic atmosphere. The set design and costumes lend to the 90’s era feels that the film is set in.

The Queen Of My Dreams premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2023.

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TIFF ’23: The Queen Of My Dreams Blends Bollywood Homages With Poignant Storytelling
  • Acting - 9/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 8/10
  • Setting/Theme - 8/10
  • Watchability - 9/10
  • Rewatchability - 8.5/10
User Review
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