Wadjda

"Excellent"

Wadjda Review


Movies written and directed by women are unthinkable in Saudi Arabia, and indeed this film is banned in filmmaker Mansour's home country. But it's essential viewing for more than that reason: this is a charming and sensitive drama that quietly highlights Arab life from a female perspective in a way we have never seen before. By seeing the situation from a schoolgirl's perspective, the film reverberates for us too.

Wadjda (Mohammed) is a feisty 10-year-old who always seems to be in trouble at her girls' school in Riyadh. Too curious for her own good, her teacher (Ahd) and headmistress (Alyaaqop) want her to wear a head-to-toe covering to help her grow up. Her loving parents (Abdullah and Assaf) are supportive but preoccupied with the fact that her father is looking for another wife since her mother can't have more children, most importantly a son. Meanwhile, Wadjda is focussed on getting a green bicycle from a neighbourhood shop so she can race her friend Abdullah (Gohani). Even though girls aren't allowed to ride bikes, Wadjda launches a series of money-making schemes.

Tellingly, Wadjda's ultimate plan is to win the prize money in a difficult Koran competition, and the fact that she's participating makes everyone think that she's suddenly serious about being a good Muslim girl. But she's secretly getting bike-riding lessons from Abdullah, listening to pop music on her iPod and wearing jeans and Converse trainers like kids everywhere on earth. She's also starting to realise that her educational, professional and personal options are harshly limited simply because she's female. Which hardly seems fair since she knows she'll beat Abdullah when they have their race.

Filmmaker Mansour gently drops in telling details, such as how Wadja must contend with sexist leering from men on the streets. Every scene is infused with this kind of irony, as well as a generous current of offbeat humour. All of the performances are raw and natural, reflecting the attitudes of women who just get on with life under these conditions and men who grow up knowing that they are entitled to everything. This is Wadjda's first real encounter with the injustice of her culture, and her reactions are revelatory. She may be idealistic about the way she approaches each situation, but she's also a real inspiration.



Wadjda

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 16th May 2013

Box Office USA: $1.4M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Fresh: 101 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Haifaa Al Mansour

Producer: Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul

Starring: Reem Abdullah as Mother, Waad Mohammed as Wadjda, Abdullrahman Algohani as Abdullah, Ahd as Ms. Hussa, Sultan Al Assaf as Father, Dana Abdullilah as Salma, Rehab Ahmed as Noura, Rafa Al Sanea as Fatima, Sara Aljaber as Leila, Noura Faisal as Abeer, Talal Loay as Abeer's Young Man, Sami Hazim as Abdullah's uncle, Mohammed Zahir as Iqbal - the driver, Nouf Saad as Koran Teacher, Faoziah Alyaaqop as Ms Jamilia

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.