I was surprised at the critical acclaim this movie received from everyone. However, being too politically correct doesn't help people to actually understand the real problem. I had an inkling of the problems when I watched "The Big Sick", a true story of a Pakistani family trying to force their son into marrying a Muslim Pakistani girl even though he grew up in the U.S. Instead he chooses a white girl who goes into a coma. Even though this is a true story and a comedy drama the real pathos for everyone involved is very eye opening for anyone watching this movie worldwide. Though people in other countries might not get what a Californian like myself gets out of the movie, everyone will understand some aspect of the problems involved worldwide.
America when all is said and done is a Christian Secular place after all. So, trying to make your life here work if you are anything else but a white Secular Christian can be difficult at best. Over 90% of the wealth in the U.S. is controlled by White Secular Christians as well. This might be important to understand too.
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Critical responseFour Lions received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a "Certified Fresh" score of 82%, based on 126 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The site's consensus reads, "Its premise suggests brazenly tasteless humor, but Four Lions is actually a smart, pitch-black comedy that carries the unmistakable ring of truth." Metacritic gives the film a score of 68 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
The Daily Telegraph wrote that "[Chris Morris's] evocations of the claustrophobic mundanity of the Muslims' lives, their querulous banter, their flimsily pick 'n' mix approach to the Koran all feel painfully, brilliantly real." The Daily Express rated Four Lions 4/5 and praised the performances in particular, calling the film "brilliantly cast with all the actors displaying sharp comic timing and both [Riz] Ahmed and [Kayvan] Novak also bringing out the touching humanity of their characters."
Upon its screening at Sundance, the Los Angeles Times and The Hollywood Reporter gave the film extremely positive reviews, the latter describing the film as "a brilliant takedown of the imbecility of fanaticism" drawing comparisons with This Is Spinal Tap and The Three Stooges.
Amongst the reviewers that gave the film negative and mixed reviews were Nigel Andrews of the Financial Times, who called the film a "spectacular miss" and The Guardian's Jeremy Kay, who wrote "as a satire on terror, Four Lions seems to be a missed opportunity". Andrew Pulver, also writing for The Guardian, gave the film a more favourable review, stating that "Chris Morris is still the most incendiary figure working in the British entertainment industry."
The UK premiere at the National Media Museum in Bradford was followed by a question and answer session with Chris Morris, Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain, three of the principal actors, and two of the producers. Morris stated that he does not find the film at all controversial and that attempting to cause controversy is "one of the most boring things you can do". Morris also gave a talk introducing the film at a summer 2010 screening at Latitude Festival in Suffolk.
Box officeDespite an initial release on just 115 screens across the UK, the film was successful at the box office on its opening weekend, generating the highest site average of all the new releases (£5,292) and making a total of £609,000. According to the Official Top 10 UK Film Chart (7–9 May 2010), Four Lions was placed at sixth, behind Iron Man 2, Furry Vengeance, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hot Tub Time Machine, and The Back-Up Plan. Due to its popularity, Optimum Releasing increased the number of screens showing the film to 200.
As of 8 August 2010, Four Lions grossed £2,932,366 at the UK box office. As of 24 February 2011, Four Lions the worldwide gross was US$4,658,570.
AccoladesTime Magazine rated the film as among Top 10 movies of the year 2010.
The lead actors, Kayvan Novak and Nigel Lindsay, were both nominated for Best Comedy Performance in Film at the British Comedy Awards 2010. Kayvan Novak went on to win the award, thanking all his "brothers" — referring to his fellow actors in Four Lions.
At the BAFTAs 2011, Chris Morris won the award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. He beat competition from The Arbor, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Monsters, and Skeletons.