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Sadece Sen (2014) Film Review – A Gritty, Romantic Turkish Drama of Love and Sacrifice

Sadece Sen

SADECE SEN FILM REVIEW

I have recently discovered the world of foreign films. The joy of watching a foreign film is that it exposes the viewer to countries and cultures much different than our own without ever needing to leave home. I have found many of these films to be of equal, sometimes better caliber than American films. One such example is the Turkish romantic drama Sadece Sen (English translation: Only You)  a remake of the Korean film Always.

RELATED POST: Always (2011) Film Review-City Lights Meets an Affair to Remember in This Hidden Romantic Gem

SUMMARY

Ali is a lonely, former boxer with a tragic, violent past he would like to forget. When he meets Hazal, a beautiful, blind woman, he rejects her overtures of friendship. But he can only resist her for so long. Hazal’s unconditional acceptance of Ali and her cheerful optimism begin to break through the walls he has built to protect himself. As their relationship develops, it changes and enriches both of their lives. But a shocking revelation and subsequent sacrifice will challenge everything they have known.

REVIEW

I have watched many exceptional films which emotionally impacted me, but none more so than Sadece San. This gritty, romantic drama left me on the edge of my seat and totally invested in the outcome of Ali & Hazal’s story. I have rarely felt such an intense connection to a film and this one packs quite the punch.

The story itself is a simple one of how love can change a life. But the unexpected twists and turns of this particular romance kept me engaged. It was refreshingly unpredictable and a happy ending by no means guaranteed.

Although the romance and story of Sadece San are beautifully told, it is the acting which really elevates this film to another level.

Belcim Bilgin’s portrayal of Hazal is simply lovely. Her Hazal has suffered but has retained her independence and positive outlook despite the loss of her eyesight. Bilgin gives Hazal depth and nuance creating a multi-dimensional character. One wonders how Hazal is able to live so independently and remain so cheerful, but Bilgin makes it seem credible.

But the real revelation of Sadece Sen is Ibrahim Celikkol as Ali. His is a stunning performance of a tortured, reticent man whose relationship with Hazal makes him yearn for redemption. Celikkol uses his entire body and expressive face to portray Ali’s inner torment. Before he meets Hazal, his posture is hunched, his face shows shame and hopelessness and the grey hoodie he wears is a symbol that he is hiding from life. As love begins to change Ali, he is literally transformed. He walks differently and his entire countenance brightens. Of the two lead performances, Celikkol’s is the most challenging. He must portray deep and violent emotional responses without the use of much dialogue and he succeeds.

Along with the intense romance and the brutal scenes of Ali’s criminal past and profession as a boxer, there are some lovely quiet moments as well. When Hazal first introduces herself to Ali she betrays her love of flowers and encourages him to take care of a potted impatiens. Towards the end of the film, Ali walks into her workplace to find that she has continued to care for the same impatiens as well as Ali’s miniature turtle.

Another moment occurs after the lovers have visited the lake. Hazal picks up two stones, holds them in her hands and closes her eyes. Finally, she hands one to Ali and says that the one she kept reminds her of him. She hopes that the other stone will remind him of her. (I recently saw this same concept of stones holding memories used in the Japanese film Departures).

Later, after a long separation, we see Ali holding his remembrance stone in his hand. Yet another scene shows Ali leaving their apartment, only to stop and look at Hazal standing by the front door, watching him leave. He hesitates, then runs back up the stairs to grab her in his arms, unwilling to say goodbye. These are the simple moments that most couples have which portray the depth of their connection.

I also really loved the use of light and darkness in this film. The scenes when Ali and Hazal are together are full of natural light and have a breezy feel. A stark contrast is the dark, toneless scenes whenever Ali’s past makes an appearance. The use of light really enhances some of the more beautiful imagery of Sadece Sen.

It’s not just the use of light and dark that is a highlight of the cinematography. There are some very beautifully shot landscape scenes. I also love the many closeups on the actors’ faces which act to highlight their connection, to draw the viewers focus and to minimalize distraction from their love story.

RECOMMENDATION

Although Sadece Sen is fairly clean, there are some graphically violent scenes pertaining to Ali’s profession as a former boxer. There are also scenes of implied physical intimacy which are fairly modest. However, if you don’t mind the gritty scenes than I wholeheartedly urge you to watch Sadece San. You will rarely have the opportunity to watch a more deeply romantic and touching film.

Where to Watch: Sadece San is currently available on Netflix and YouTube here. You can also rent it on iTunes. It is not available on DVD, so watch it while you can.

Content: While this film does not come with a rating, I would say the few violent scenes would garner it an R rating. However, the rest of the movie is clean with no foul language, no nudity, and only implied sex scenes.

Have you seen Sadece San? Do you have a favorite foreign film? Let me know in the comments.


All photos credited to Boyut Films.

OVERALL RATING

“The stuff that dreams are made of”

ROMANCE RATING

“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.

I have loved none but you.”

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By on April 13th, 2017

About Brittaney B.

Brittaney has had her head in the clouds ever since she first fell in love with books and film as a young child. She's a firm believer in the power of story to transport us to new places while also transforming our hearts. She tends to favor historical fiction and classic films since they also allow her to feel like a time traveler. Brittaney is a native resident of Texas and has been honing her own ability to write and tell stories for many years now. You can find more of her wordsmith skills at her website www.storyenthusiast.com.

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19 thoughts on “Sadece Sen (2014) Film Review – A Gritty, Romantic Turkish Drama of Love and Sacrifice”

  1. A Turkish remake of the Korean movie, Always!? OMG. This is a must watch for me. Always is my all time favorite Korean film! How exciting to read there’s another version! Thank you for putting this one on my radar!!

    Reply
  2. I really enjoyed this film. I had seen both leads in the Turkish tv series Kördügüm (Intersection.) Ibrahim Celikkol is excellent in both, as is Belcim Bilgin. His visual and physical expressions are outstanding.

    Reply
  3. Oh how I do love your review of this outstanding movie, I have watched it many , many many times and bought it on DVD. The very first time I have watched this movie in the cinema and even TWO TIMES in a row on th same evening, because I was so immensely fascinated. I have never been touched by a movie that way. I agree completely with every single word to your wonderful review, you have written down exactly what I felt about this extraordinary movie. Although it’s a remake from the Asian version , it’s much much much much much deeper and more expressive , thanks to the outstanding performance and expression Ibrahim Celikkol gives. Amazing, so incredibly touching and simply breathtaking. He reflects the torture of this man so incredibly and unbelievably perfect, this movie really has blown me away and does it every time I watch it again. Thank you so much for giving such a remarkable review of this Turkish masterpiece.

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for telling me. It is definitely one of my all time favorite films and I’m glad I discovered it. But I’m a bit jealous taht you got the experience of watching it on the big screen in the theater…twice!

      Reply
  4. Lovely review.I really enjoyed this movie too, and Ibrahim is a magnetic actor. Have you seen him in the current series Siyah Beyaz Ask? I’m convinced ,after watching his portrayal in the series, he is the best Turkish actor and possibly one of the best actors I’ve seen on screen.

    Reply
    • To be honest, I’m not sure how much the Turkish culture impacted this film. Although I’ve watched a few films and series from Turkey, I’m still learning. One thing I have appreciated in the shows I’ve seen is that it seems that Turkish men are more open to expressing emotions, at least on screen. You rarely see American films where men show true emotion.

      Reply
  5. I really loved this film. He is my man. This film and Intersection killed me. I really feel this is one of the best I ever saw

    Reply
    • It has definitely become one of my favorite movie stories. I’ve watched it many times now and it still gets me every time!

      Reply
  6. Ah! I LOVED this movie! I discovered it shortly after stumbling onto Kurt Seyit ve Sura on Netflix.

    Turkish Drama has so much more depth than American shows. The plots are also much more layered, and they are MUCH more romantic without all the graphic bedroom scenes in American TV.

    If you are up for a series (and their series are LONG) try Erkenci Kus. It’s a Romantic comedy that’s been sweeping the world, mostly because the chemistry between the lead actor/actress is off the charts. It’s on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skWaL8L4x74&list=PLncjH2Gd0T0nIjkilfHwr3ErNLSFCTlWU

    Another one captivating the world is Hercai. About a guy who takes revenge on a girl to shame her family and ends up falling in love with her. That couple also has fantastic chemistry and the plot is full of twists and turns. First three episodes are on Vimeo here: https://vimeo.com/atvdistribution (Message me thru my website if you want more–GingerMonette.com)

    Enjoy! I haven’t gone back to American TV since discovering Turkish Drama!

    Reply
    • I wholeheartedly agree with your views on Turkish dramas. I felt the same way after watching a few. Thanks for sharing these links!

      Reply
  7. I strongly recommend the Turkish series Kiralik Ask (60 episodes in total) – romantic comedy/
    The chemistry between the main actors (Baris Arduc & Elcin Sangu) is fantastic.
    After finishing this serie they made a movie (1h 40 min) Mutluluk Zamani – worth watching – it will made your day. I became a big fun of ElBar

    Reply
  8. I completely agree about the depth of Turkish love films. Last Fall I watched ‘Love, Loves Coincidences” which is the English translation of the Turkish title. It also stars Belcim Bilgin and was available on Netflix. I never thought I’d see another movie that was as touching and romantically gripping as it was. Like Sadece Send, it is unpredictable and had a heart wrenching twist at the end. (Tissues required). If you liked Sadece Sen, you’ll like Love, Loves Coincidences, as well.

    Reply
  9. I’m a little late to the party, but…..What a great review! I LOVE foreign films for the same reasons you described.

    I also recently discovered Turkish series and agree with everyone about how compl ex and layered the plots are – very character-driven without gratuitous sex, yet deeply romantic and well-written (except for season 3 of Intersection…what happened?!! Maybe the leads had other film commitments, sheesh.)
    . I hardly watch American series these days.

    Black Money Love ((Kara Para Ask) is AMAZING. Love love love – almost at the end, don’t want it to be over.

    I recommend this series on Netflix from Colombia, – Queen of Flow- for the same reasons I love the Turkish series.

    I Just started All for Love (Colombia) on Netflix with the male antagonist of Queen of Flow as the romantic heroic lead…so far so good! It’s my back up to when Black ,Money Love ends.

    Keep up the good reviews!

    Reply
  10. I loved this movie. The acting and storyline was superb. I saw intersection and I felt they failed in the ending, not bringing the two main characters together at the end. Winter Sun is brilliant. I hope they redeem Intersection since those two actors have s much chemistry. Sadece Sen was warm and touching, have seen it over and over again. I skip the boxing but the movie is wonderful.

    Reply

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