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

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

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.