The true life story of author Norma Khouri is almost too loopy to believe. Khouri wrote the hugely successful Forbidden Love, a supposed memoir of her life growing up in Jordan and the murder (‘honor killing’) of her best friend who made the mistake of dating a Christian man. A few years after the book was published, an Australian investigative journalist uncovered ample evidence that not only was the book largely a work of fiction, but that Khouri may had been involved in many more run of the mill scams and cons over the years.
At first, the preponderance of silly, ham fisted reenactments of scenes from the book distract rather than embellish the film. But the jocular tone makes more sense as the story unfolds and more and more outrageous accusations come to light. Made with the author’s explicit involvement, she seems to have no clue as to how disturbed a picture the film paints of her. You can be certain it’s the attention alone that she craves, regardless of whether or not she comes off as simply misunderstood or truly sociopathic.
The film does what it needs to do in bringing to light a literary hoax right up there with JT Leroy and Clifford Irving. That it lacks subtlety or nuance hardly seems to matter in the scheme of things. The DVD even includes a commentary track where Khouri and director Anna Broinowski continue to hash out their respective arguments. The woman really doesn’t know when to quit.