Well, who doesn’t like to indulge in romantic comedy from time to time? The story and screenplay might be clichéd and predictable, but we like it when it turns out exactly the way we want it. Valentine’s Day was a few weeks ago, but still, the craving and yearning for a decent romantic comedy is always there, no matter what. “Faraway,” directed by Vanessa Jopp and written by Jane Ainscough, is a tale of a woman in her late 40s discovering life sans her husband, daughter, and father. A journey of self-discovery post a tragedy in her life is something she had not expected. This German multi-language film is a Netflix Original, which released on the platform on March 8th, 2023, and stars Naomi Krauss, Goran Bogdan, Adnan Maral, and Bahar Balci.
Zeynep Finally Snaps
The movie begins with Zeynep reaching a cliffside town on her own, embracing everything she had been through up until then, and looking at the horizon with a hearty smile. The story moves to Germany, where Zeynep, her husband Ilyas, her daughter Fia, and her father live together in an apartment. Ilyas runs a restaurant that was previously owned by Zeynep’s father. They all wake up this morning, and Zeynep is struggling to run the household because she’d lost her mother just a few days ago. The family is dealing with the tragedy in their own way and preparing for the funeral of the person who was an important part of their lives. Zeynep is tired of being the only person who must manage the household while keeping up with the responsibilities of a job. She gets no help from her Ilyas or Fia. She is struggling in the morning because not only has she lost her mother, but she has to handle her aging father too. She is stuck between three people and wants a funeral that will go smoothly. All she can do is expect all three of them to be there for each other in the wake of the tragedy. Zeynep is a first-generation German citizen of Turkish descent, and she makes sure the funeral has a Turkish touch to it to make it about her mother’s roots. Zeynep is struggling to keep the family intact, and with one push, all of it will fall like a house of cards. It is only her family that doesn’t know yet that Zeynep’s mind might have reached a tipping point.
Zeynep, in a hurry to make the right funeral arrangements, asks Ilyas to get her the speech to be made at the funeral on his way from the restaurant. Zeynep ends up meeting her mother’s lawyer, who lives upstairs, and who puts across a legal document that states that her mother had a property in Croatia. Zeynep is shocked to know her mother managed to do something as radical as this in her lifetime. Knowing her mother was born and raised in Croatia, she had also met Zeynep’s father in the same country, but her mother owning a property there comes as a revelation and is very unlike the person that she was. Zeynep is now not just struggling with the funeral of her beloved mother; this news also comes at a time when everything around her is chaotic, and all of them are barely managing to keep themselves steady and in one piece. Zeynep’s daughter Fia is going through her typical teenage phase where everything her mother does is embarrassing while her father is her rock star. Anything and everything Zeynep does is ignored and goes unappreciated, and she is feeling overwhelmed. Zeynep is on the verge of a mental breakdown when she notices her husband has not come to her mother’s funeral that afternoon, and he has her speech. She is furious and heads to the restaurant to see what the reason for his absence from the most important day of her life could possibly be. She reaches the spot only to see Ilyas flirting with his colleague, who is much younger than him. She was quick to understand he was busy conversing with her and forgot he had to attend the funeral of his mother-in-law.
Zeynep is not surprised by the way his behavior has changed in a while, and she’d noticed him smiling while talking to the same colleague more than he ever did in the last few years with her. Zeynep confronts him, only for him to make excuses and turn it around to make it Zeynep’s fault. Zeynep finally realizes this is not going to work out if Ilyas does what he does and Fia disrespects her. Going through her file, she comes across legal documents about her mother’s home. With the pickup van that she has at that moment, Zeynep drives away to Croatia, not knowing what the condition of the home is or what the country has to offer her. Zeynep herself has no clue what she is expecting from this trip, but right now, all she wants is to stay away from her nagging father and daughter and her insensitive husband. All of them have been anything but understanding of her emotions right now. She wants some time away from her family, to spend some time in solitude, and hopes to live on the property owned by her mother, which will probably provide some clarity she was looking for. She wanted some time on her own in the wake of the tragedy that her family wasn’t supporting her through, which overwhelmed her. Maybe her escape to Croatia without anyone knowing would help her find a purpose and give her life some perspective.
On reaching Croatia and the exact spot where her mother’s home is situated, Zeynep reaches in the middle of the night, sleeps off on the bed she finds inside the house, not realizing it might be occupied by someone. It turns out that it is, for the person sleeping next to her is Josip, who lives on this property. Josip turns out to be the original owner, from whom Zeynep’s mother had purchased the property, but she allowed him to stay on the land just because of his connection to the place. Zeynep is not comfortable having him around, and he starts living in the tent outside in the garden, just by the cliff. Josip was the last person she expected to be around her home. Josip is heavily nostalgic about the property and is unwilling to detach himself from it. He has his roots in this place, and his father and grandfather made sure to keep it intact. Even though this home began as a shelter for animals, it was converted into a family home where he grew up, and was eventually sold to Zeynep’s mother. Zeynep, though she understands Josip’s attachment to the property, has other plans and is keen on converting it into an Airbnb, which will help her earn a little cash on the side. Josip is horrified by her idea of making it a tourist spot, for he is not keen on commercializing the property or the place where it is situated. This is where Zeynep and Josip disagree and have a fallout. Though Zeynep has started the process of refurbishing the property, Josip tries his best to stall the process. Zeynep also knows that it is around here in this seaside town that her mother was born and raised, and she would like to visit the said place. Josip, though, is hell-bent on not letting her make a profitable business transaction out of this property. Zeynep also weighs the option of selling the property to the highest bidder if Airbnb does not work out, and in that hope, she hires Conrad, a British realtor based in Croatia. Conrad has no high opinion of Josip and considers him an obstacle. Zeynep promises Josip will not be a problem, as this is her property, and she has every right to convert it into anything she wants. Zeynep and Josip, though they start on the wrong foot, both start understanding the emotions attached to the property. Josip has his ancestral connection, while Zeynep considers this property not just as her mother’s symbol of independence but as something that might help her become financially independent as well. There are plenty of emotions, such as this, attached to this place, which both are unwilling to compromise on.
‘Faraway’ Ending Explained – Did Zeynep Sell Her Mother’s Precious Home?
Conrad comes across a brilliant offer for Zeynep, which he requests Josip to put across to her. Josip conveniently forgets to inform her about the offer, which is very insensitive of him because he knows the purpose of this visit and the importance of this property, which could make a lot of difference to her life. But slowly, Josip and Zeynep open up about their lives and the inhibitions they have faced as spouses. Josip turns out to be not a bad person here because his emotions start making sense to Zeynep. In the process of getting to know Josip, she ends up meeting his uncle. Zeynep realizes Josip and his immediate family are not bad people; it is just a nostalgic factor that brings them closer to this land that previously belonged to them anyway. Josip also opens up about his wife’s infidelity, and about how she eventually married his brother. Though they are living in Florida, he prefers to inform everybody that his brother and his wife passed away in a car crash. She discovers that Josip did not inform her of the offer Conrad came down with for her. This again infuriates Zeynep because, at the end of the day, the home is her property, and Josip cannot meddle with her affairs, no matter how connected he feels. She aims to make a profit from the sale of the property, which will help not just her but him in the long run. Josip is not keen on the money; just the fact that it has an ancestral value makes it hard for him to sell.
Zeynep, who was starting to like Josip, changes her mind and calls up Ilyas, who has been tracking her since she landed in this sleepy cliffside town in Croatia. But Ilyas has other plans, and he reveals he does not intend to keep the marriage going because he feels she and him have drifted apart. He also reveals he has feelings for his colleague, but that has nothing to do with how he feels about their relationship right now. Zeynep understands his words and has a big cry over them, so that she can get it out of her system. Zeynep now knows what she wants from her life, and all she needs is the right path, which she is sure she will be provided with if her mother’s guidance in the form of blessings follows her. Josip also notices that she is struggling to decipher a diary maintained by her mother, which is written in the local Croatian language. Zeynep is unfamiliar with the local language and uses a dictionary, which slows down the deciphering process. Josip helps by translating the entire diary of her mother into English so that it will be easy for her to follow what her mother wanted to convey through the property that she left for her daughter.
Zeynep goes on a walk of self-discovery as she starts reading the book translated by Josip for her. She realizes the importance of that property and why it was important for her mother to have that one property in her name. It symbolizes freedom for her, and she can only hope it will mean the same for Zeynep. Even though Zeynep’s mother was happy living the life she led growing up in Croatia, a place where she also met Zeynep’s father, coming back to Croatia and purchasing a property was cathartic, and she wishes the same for Zeynep and her daughter Fia. Zeynep now has the freedom she was seeking and finds it comforting that she is now away from the toxicity of her marriage, even though they had happy times. After coming back from the eye-opener trip, she reveals to Josip that she is not willing to sell the property, for she now understands what it meant to her mother and what it now means to her. Zeynep slowly starts understanding the freedoms she is gaining by keeping the property as it is and making sure it does not slip from her hand. It is her mother’s legacy she will preserve if she decides to keep it to herself and makes Josip a part of the big news. Josip is moved by her decision, and they both end up kissing each other and spending the night together.
The next morning at the breakfast table, Zeynep’s daughter Fia shows up, which comes as a rude shock to both of them, keeping in mind the situation they are in. Fia is shocked to see her mother with another man, and Zeynep never expected Fia to show up here at her place. Fia, a teenager who is set to head to college, is upset not just at her father but at her mother as well for leaving their home so abruptly. As per Fia, it is she who is supposed to leave home for college and not her mother. As parents, they are supposed to stay together and see her off, not live life separately, which is messing with Fia’s head at the moment. Zeynep conveys that she can understand Fia being shocked and confused about what is happening, but someday she will realize that at this moment, Zeynep is happy, and nothing else will matter. Fia is slowly trying to understand the gravity of the situation and coming to terms with the fact that her parents deserve to be happy, even if that means they will probably not be together from now on. Fia informs her father of Josip and goes off to Croatia, acting all jealous and wanting Zeynep back. Zeynep informs him that she has moved on, and she threw away her wedding ring the day Ilyas informed her he had no intentions of staying in the marriage. Ilyas is heartbroken, but he understands where Zeynep’s emotions are coming from.
Zeynep cooks an elaborate dinner for her family, Josip, and his uncles. She gives a heartfelt toast to her now-deceased mother and is forever thankful to her for showing her the path she did not know she needed, and she will be forever grateful to her mother for bringing her back to Croatia. Zeynep feels like a new person from here on, and she can finally accept her for who she is. Fia also comes out as bisexual to her mother, and Zeynep is nothing but happy for her daughter, who is making a road trip with her father to locate the woman she loves. Zeynep notices Josip walking away, and she knows he feels left out of this family gathering of sorts. She follows him up to the cliffside, and they finally embrace in a kiss that seals the deal for both of them. They knew they loved each other and respected one another. Zeynep would not move away from Croatia, for she feels this place has been her calling for a long time, and she intends to live with Josip from now on. They have a shared history of spouses who disappointed them, and they can now patch up their wounds from there and start living and loving each other and staying back in Croatia.
“Faraway” is as cliche as it gets; the romantic narrative, style, and climax are predictable, but all of this still makes the film a highly engaging watch. It is the sharp humor, the performances, and the fact that there are movies now being made that cater to women who are over the age of forty. They deserve to have love stories of their own. Writer Jane Ainscough and director Vanessa Jopp embody women telling women’s stories by telling the journey of a woman of a certain age who is rediscovering her life outside of her family. She is on her own and trying to understand what she wants from life. There are also clever scenes on how it is okay for a man to date a younger woman, but the moment a woman dates a younger man, all hell breaks loose. It is essential to speak up about matters such as this and not be judgmental of the lives people lead. Jane and Vanessa put across this point rather cleverly. Yes, the ending is cliched, as is the plot, but the straightforward screenplay makes the film enjoyable to watch.