Do you know D.C.?
Get our free newsletter to stay in the know about local D.C.
In 2003 Norma Khouri scored an international bestseller with Forbidden Love (published in the United States as Honor Lost), a memoir about her friendship with “Dalia,” who was allegedly murdered by her strict Muslim father for dating a Christian man. The book was later exposed as sick with inaccuracies and overstatements about “honor killings” in Jordan. For instance, many of the landmarks the book mentions didn’t exist during the time the book is set, and Khouri wasn’t around either—she was in Chicago, where she was under investigation by the FBI for her involvement in con schemes. Forbidden Lie$ largely follows the disgraced author as she travels to Amman, the scene of the alleged crime, and it’s often hard to tell who’s being more obnoxious here—Khouri for constantly revising her story when she’s caught in yet another lie (she has the nerve to dub her book a mix of fact and fiction she calls “faction”), or director Anna Broinowski for staging hokey dramatizations and structuring her film in a way that takes Khouri’s nonsense seriously. Still, watching a consummate bullshit artist at work is fascinating—Broinowski keeps handing rope to Khouri, who keeps on taking it. All the noise takes away from the issue of honor killings, which experts onscreen agree do happen, if not nearly to the degree that Khouri insists. —MA