Look at all that longing! (CREDIT: Elise Lockwood/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)

Starring: Tilda Swinton, Idris Elba

Director: George Miller

Running Time: 108 Minutes

Rating: R for Getting It On With a Magical Creature

Release Date: August 26, 2022 (Theaters)

What’s It About?: What if Aladdin starred Idris Elba instead of Robin Williams and Tilda Swinton instead of Steve from Full House. And also, what if it took place almost entirely in a hotel room? That’s pretty much Three Thousand Years of Longing in a nutshell. Alithea Binnie (Swinton) is a professor attending a conference in Istanbul, where she’s treated to the discovery of a djinn who had previously been trapped for millennia. And so, he is obliged to grant her – you guessed it! – that classic trio of wishes. But here’s the catch: Alithea’s not exactly the kind of person who would like to suddenly change her life by conjuring what’s in her heart of hearts. So it looks like we’re going to be her for a while. In the meantime, the djinn takes it upon himself to tell Alithea his life story.

What Made an Impression?: Three Thousand Years of Longing is basically just Pure Intoxication, thoroughly distilled. Who could possibly resist being an audience of one to a magical creature played by Idris Elba? As it turns out, Alithea Binnie almost can resist that. Almost. She’s always been a little different than everyone else, and she’s perfectly happy being her own independent self who doesn’t have to rely on anybody. (Which is to say, Tilda Swinton is the perfect person to play her.) But there’s something about somebody opening up to you so full and nakedly by revealing their life story. Let’s call it intimacy. And the power of that intimacy is multiplied about a thousandfold when that story spans millennia.

I’m not going to get too much into the details of the events of the Djinn’s life, mainly because they didn’t make much of an impression on me one way or the other. But that’s not a problem, because with the Djinn telling it, I’m enraptured even if the details mean nothing to me. This movie is a testament to the power of storytelling, specifically its ability to make you fall in love. That’s how Alithea falls in love with the Djinn, it’s how I fell in love with Three Thousand Years of Longing, and it’s how I imagine its spell will be cast on many more viewers to come.

Three Thousand Years of Longing is Recommended If You Like: Cracking open a good book, Gathering around the fire, Waking up only to fall back into a deep slumber

Grade: 4 out of 5 Stories