The Reluctant Fundamentalist

  • 15
  • Mira Nair (2012)
  • US / UK / Qatar
  • 130 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

Though a few liberties have been taken with Mohsin Hamid's novel, this study of modern-day racial tensions is admirably faithful to the spirit of its source, despite a complete overhaul of its ambiguous framing device. Riz Ahmed stars as Changez, a Pakistani man from a good family who moves to the West to chase the American Dream, only to find his hopes for the future dashed in the Islamophobic backlash to the events of 9/11. Told in flashback - with Changez now a teacher in Lahore, accused of radicalising his students - Mira Nair's thoughtful, provocative drama seems to unfurl in reverse. Has his frustration and disillusionment finally driven the once mild-mannered Changez to terrorism? The splendid Ahmed keeps us guessing to the very end. The pay-off is a little worthy, and some of the Hollywood cameos (Kiefer Sutherland, Kate Hudson) can be jarring, but this is a film that makes some very interesting points about how society and the media can combine to create history's monsters.

Plot Summary

A Pakistani professor is visited by an American journalist, who wants to interview him about a recent kidnapping. The academic tells the story of his life in the US, and how he was falsely regarded as a potential terrorist in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks - an experience that drove him to radical politics. Drama based on Mohsin Hamid's novel, starring Riz Ahmed, Liev Schreiber, Kate Hudson and Kiefer Sutherland.

Cast and crew


Rizwan Ahmed
Kate Hudson
Bobby Lincoln
Liev Schreiber
Jim Cross
Kiefer Sutherland
Om Puri
Shabana Azmi
Ludlow Cooper
Martin Donovan (2)
Nelsan Ellis
Mike Rizzo
Christopher Nicholas Smith
Mustafa Fazil
Adil Hussain


Mira Nair

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Mara Pictures
Swearing, some violence, a sex scene.
Released 10 May 2013