Five orphaned sisters are put under house arrest by their uncle and grandmother after they are seen horsing around with local boys from school. While their actions were purely innocent, their behavior is viewed as scandalous and shameful by the conservative elders in their small Turkish village. After this incident, their grandmother turns her attention towards marrying off her granddaughters. Each of the five sisters rebel in their own way, but it is the youngest and rowdiest sister, Lale, who is the central protagonist of the film. She watches helplessly as each of her older sisters is married off with an increasing sense of dread and desperation. While this may sound hopelessly depressing, the movie is equal parts beautiful and tragic and floats across the screen in a dreamlike manner. Not all of the sisters escape their oppressive surroundings or their assigned fate, but the message is clear: it’s crucial to try.
This historical show with immaculate production value is about the fall of Constantinople in 1453. It's fully in English, despite being a Turkish production, featuring a mix of entertaining interviews and dramatic reenactment. The way it's narrated is reminiscent of History Channel documentaries (with frequent recaps), which is unfortunate. Still, the story and the production compensate well enough. The young 21-year-old Ottoman Sultan Mehmet risks everything in pursuit of Constantinople, a city twelve armies, including his father's, have failed to take. This moment is pivotal for so many reasons: it marked the end of the Roman empire, it turned the Ottomans from local power to a global one, and the use of advanced military techniques (such as a new generation of cannons) changed warfare forever. But knowing that Mehmet will enter Constantinople (now Istanbul) changes nothing to the appeal of this show. The question is not will he win, but at what cost, and how.