Indie Gems: Wadjda

Praise she.

I can't think of a better indie gem to wrap up my posts for Dell's Girls Week  

In Saudi Arabi, a young girl named Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) wants to buy a bicycle so she can race her neighbor boy, Abdullah. (Abdullrahman Al Gohani) But she's continuously told that girls cannot have bikes. After she's caught in various schemes at school to earn money, she enters a Quran reading competition in order to raise her remaining funds.

Sometimes you just need to watch a PG movie where you know how the end is going to go, and Wadjda is that. It's predictable, but that's okay. You're immediately drawn to her and you want her to have that bike. I wanted to reach through the screen and buy it for her. It's hard watching a child being told they cannot have something that seems to trivial to you if you grew up in a different culture. 

The film handles the religious aspect of this well. It could easily only show you the ugly side that doesn't let a girl have a bicycle, but I found the scenes where they were reading the Quran very moving and lovely. It doesn't erase the annoyance of her being denied something for being female. But it at least provides some balance. I hope Waad Mohammed has a bright future in acting if that's what she chooses. She carries this film and absolutely deserves it. Same with director Haifaa Al-Mansour (who according to IMDb had to give some of her direction via walkie talkie due to the strict gender laws in Saudi) I can't wait to see what she makes next. 


Grade: A

Watched on: Netflix DVD

Memorable Quote: "I want you to be the happiest you can be." - Mother (Reem Abdullah)


12 comments:

  1. I know right, it's so simple and predictable and yet it's one of the best films I've seen recently. I hope/can't wait to see what else Haifaa Al-Mansour has to offer. I'm glad to know it wasn't just me who found the Quran reading moving. I read it earlier this year, but listening to someone reading it in Arabic was a whole different thing, way more beautiful.

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    1. I love that we both went for this movie recently. It's such a great little film!

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  2. Sonia's review of this introduced me to it. Now, you've given it a positive review. I must see this, soon. Thanks for participating this week!

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    1. It was so nice to see someone else talking about it right away. I'm fairly sure Wanderer turned me on to it during a TMP week.

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  3. I saw this film a few years ago and it is truly a gem in every sense of the word. I showed this film to my mother who liked it a lot as Haifaa al-Mansour has already made another film that might be in theaters next year in a bio-pic about Mary Shelley who is played by Elle Fanning.

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    1. I read a few reviews of that during TIFF. I can't wait to see how she does with it.

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  4. i may have been able to predict the ending, but watching it all unfold was riveting.

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    1. Exactly! Its okay that it's predictable, it's still a great watch.

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  5. Thanks, I can't wait to check this one out.

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    1. It's a great little film. I hope you like it

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  6. This sounds terrific, and the fact that it offers a balanced view of fundamentalist Islam really sold me. Personally, I am not a fan of *fundamentalist* anything :-) ... but I am tired of one-dimensional portrayals of very religious people. This looks like a good movie to watch with my 13-year-old daughter.

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    1. No, fundamentalist anything is awful but I felt this was a very fair to neutral look at it. It would be a great movie to watch with your daughter!

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