Netflix‘s Turkish melodrama movie Paper Lives has just met its audience on the platform and gathered much attention already. So let’s dig into its heartbreaking story along with other details a little together to have a mind-up more about it, shall we?
Paper Lives (Kagittan Hayatlar) is a Turkish drama film directed by Can Ulkay and written by Ercan Mehmet Erdem. The movie also follows Mehmet, starring Cagatay Ulusoy who you probably know for his role on the Netflix series, The Protector. He is a young man earning his living by collecting paper in the back alley mazes of Istanbul.
What is the synopsis of Paper Lives?
Mehmet is the “boss” of a paper and waste collection center and also a big brother to many other paper collectors of different ages, backgrounds, and nations, who also make their livings in the same way. They all try to support themselves and survive on the alleys of Istanbul. And one day, Mehmet discovers an eight-year-old boy hiding in his colleague’s garbage bag. Since he has already a soft spot for the many homeless children in the area, he is soon dedicated to reconnecting the boy, Ali, with his family as well.
But it turns out Ali has been beaten by his step-father so his mother sends him away from home and warns him not to return. So Mehmet takes Ali under his protection and starts to look after him, although his all friends stand against that decision and say Ali will get Mehmet in trouble. And their struggles together against the survival start. And things will not be going as expected at all.
What’s our review for Paper Lives?
Paper Lives begins with an aphorism written in capital letters: “In a world where children are crying, laughter can only be cruel.” It then continues with a dedication: “To all the children who grow up all alone on the streets…”
So it starts with touching your heart as it also creeps you out while making your whole body shake literally. Along with giving their main motto, the movie also shows you an interdependence of homeless’ from LGBTI to Romans and Africans to many more types of people. But there are some inconsistencies such as despite all this interdependence soul they have, they are also under some kind of capitalist system by Mehmet somehow as well. It makes you question which tale of equality and solidarity to believe in in this context, too.
Paper Lives sure aims to audience warmth by winding up with some beefy drama along with emphasizing heavily on the melodrama. As it steers you to a very sad place, it also seems to have all the right ingredients such as an abused child, ailing man, survival in rough conditions, and on streets and all. The real problem here is the movie could have managed to give the melancholy with a big-emotion tearjerker as it aims if it wouldn’t have some third-act shenanigans that can pull the audience thinking anywhere between clever plotting or just ridiculous. But after its strong start, it keeps you hanging in the air as you don’t know what to feel. But we do know that all of the struggles in this alley are unfortunately real, so we can also say that the film amasses plenty of goodwill as well.
On the other hand, the soundtrack of the movie is really good and the scene transitions are also fluent along with it. And the acting performances of Paper Lives are also good, energetic, and warm. Especially the acting of Cagatay Ulusoy is admirable that might even carry the whole movie. So, it is worth giving it a shot, if you ask me.
After all, you might also want to check out our list of best Netflix Original movies of all time if you have hard times choosing what to watch.