Film Review : Wadjda (2013)

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IMDB Score – 7.8
Rotten Tomato Score – 99%

Directed : Haifaa Al-Mansour
Starring : Reem Abdullah, Waad Mohammed, AHD, Abdullrahman Al Gohani

Seeing this movie is a must for two reasons. One is that it’s actually a pretty good film. The second reason is because of the significance of this film. Wadjda is the first film ever to be filmed entirely in Saudi Arabia. The country bans films and literally has zero movie theaters. That fact alone would be interesting enough except that it’s also a film directed by a woman. Women can’t vote or drive in Saudi Arabia so the fact that the first film ever is about the daily routines and struggles of women in an oppressive society TOLD by a woman is amazing. It’s a very important film to see.

Centering around a twelve year old girl, the film tells her story as she tries to make enough money to buy a bicycle, a toy basically forbidden to be ridden by women, which ultimately leads her to entering a Koran reading competition.

The performances of all the leads, especially the girl who played Wadjda, were very convincing and compelling. I thought I was going to see a heavy drama but what I actually got was a tame albeit subtly controversial story with a great heart. I felt it got a little slow in the middle but all in all it was a very good film and groundbreaking when you take in how many boundaries it crossed being made.

3.5/5

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