Dessert flower is an incredible dramatization of Waris, a worldwide famous supermodel of Somali origin. Her tale is heart wrenching as she escapes from her native Somali to England, and to international fame as a supermodel. The movie documents her escape from Somali through Mogadishu with the aid of her grandmother, who finds her a position in London as a maid for her aunt who works in the embassy. Her trouble worsens when the embassy shuts down following the eruption of war in her home country. However, in her despair, she chooses wander the streets in London rather than go home back to Somalia. Her friend shop attendant friend, whom she had managed to get close with, Marilyn, finds her a job in a fast food restaurant. It is while in the position that a modeling agent, Terry Donaldson, discovers her. Through this development, she manages to rise to the top echelons of modeling. She uses this position to air the plight of women in her native Somali in a U.N function and becomes its ambassador on female genital mutilation. The screenwriter introduces her to her ordeal through a series of flash backs, which are disturbing in the sense of the suffering she endures before fleeing. The movie is a ‘rags to riches story’, and a woman’s determination to surmount all odds in bettering her life as well as those who face a similar plight
Waris faces the moral dilemma of having to abandon her parents in rural Somalia. She has the option of staying behind and conforming to an oppressive tradition that her community believed in, or venture into the unknown world where she might get a chance at freedom. She makes the choice of fleeing home and this decision haunts her severally as she misses to see her mother. Another dilemma she must face is the weird situation of having to marry a man she does not like, and for the sole purpose of obtaining a work permit in the United Kingdom. That she is not supportive of this marriage, and does consent to it for convenience purposes puts her character in a tight spot concerning what she can do towards achieving her end.
I found the characters of Waris and that of her acquired friend Marilyn are the most riveting in the film. Waris’s unwavering faith and her pursuit of what might pass as an insurmountable hurdle is encouraging. Her success in her endeavors although with difficulty encourages the viewer on what one might achieve if they just decided that their past has nothing to offer rather than pain and bitter memories. Her attempt and reasonable success at making less people go the same challenges she went through, is a noble act that portrays her as a selfless person who is ready to help less fortunate people when she attains a position of influence. Marilyn, on the other hand, is a kindred soul who displays a rare act of chivalry in a curt world by taking Waris in. Despite seldom knowing Waris, she helps her secure a position in a local burger shop from whence a photographer spots her.
The outcome of the movie is satisfactory in the sense that it leaves the viewer with hope for the future. The success of Waris is a welcome relief to her character going by the suffering she has suffered. Her use of influence to make a change in her society brings hope on the possibility of sensitizing the Somali people on the senselessness of mutilating their daughters and the health risks associated with it. It is sad that Waris carries the burden of her experience despite her runway successes. This drawback however, underlines the cold fact on the permanence of damage inflicted by female genital mutilation.
I would have written an ending that reconciles Waris with her motherland. An ending that puts her back to the context of her earlier suffering and make her triumph over it. A scene that brings back Waris back to the society as an accomplished woman with tremendous success, would work to change the perception of the community against women. Further, it would enlighten them on the inhumanity of having to subject their girl children to that inhumane act. The scene would also give the audience a feel of their hero triumphing over the people who regarded her only as an object meant for possession by man.
The movie teaches about perseverance, the ills of female genital mutilation and the strength woman possess when she decides to disregard her social classification. The harmful effect of female genital mutilation is evident on Waris, despite her fame and success, the psychological trauma still lingers with her. However, her unwavering strength in braving this and many other challenges she faces on her way to the top, signifies the potential women have at determining their destiny. Her endurance is another positive trait. She keeps going despite the challenges being seemingly insurmountable. The movie is a good reminder of what evil still exist in ignorance.