Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    It's worth stressing how deeply pleasurable Moolaad is to watch.
  2. This is a masterwork by Ousmane Sembene, the 81-year-old father of African cinema and one of Senegal's greatest novelists.
  3. 100
    This was for me the best film at Cannes 2004, a story vibrating with urgency and life. It makes a powerful statement and at the same time contains humor, charm and astonishing visual beauty.
  4. A beautiful picture with a great heart, a classic-to-be with a common touch.
  5. This sometimes harrowing, often delightful drama stands with his (Sembène) most compassionate, colorful, and artfully filmed works.
  6. Reviewed by: Melissa Levine
    It's not easy to pull off a good morality tale. That's why Moolaad, the new film from 81-year-old Senegalese writer-director Ousmane Sembene, feels like such an exceptional success. Its moral center is painfully clear, but so is its humanity.
  7. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    Poetic, provocative and unstoppably powerful. But, depressingly, it probably won't change a thing.
  8. The result: This great work of art has the potential to change the world.
  9. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    Achieves the impossible in taking a genuine socio-political tragedy and turning it into an anvil drama which will fray the patience of the most sympathetic audiences.
  10. 90
    Quite possibly the most buoyant, exuberant film ever made on such an unpleasant topic.
  11. There's such a rich sense of the fullness of life in Moolaadé that it sustains those passages that are truly and necessarily harrowing.
  12. It's a deceptively simple tale that tackles, serenely and with surprising humor, issues of gender, power, custom and change.
  13. 75
    A rousing indictment of a barbaric practice.
  14. 83
    Brilliantly colored and passionately acted, Moolaade teems with incidents, personalities and drama and is never less than vivid.
  15. 88
    Fatoumata Coulibaly's peformance is striking. She plays her character with a mixture of determination and compassion.
  16. As empowering and triumphant a film as you'll see this or any year.
  17. 70
    Though Moolaadé doesn't shy away from the task of educating its viewers about the brutality of "purification," it works equally well as a tribute to righteous defiance wherever it surfaces.
  18. Once in a rare while a film comes along that is boldly original, communicates an important idea in an elegantly simple fashion and happens to be highly entertaining. Such is the case with Moolaadé.
  19. As drama the film mostly serves to illustrate the two sides of this crucial social debate in Africa.
  20. Sembène's love of his people and his commitment to the richness that underlies the poverty of their condition have always made his films gems of truth, as they do once again here.
  21. 100
    To skip Moolaade would be to miss an opportunity to experience the embracing, affirming, world-changing potential of humanist cinema at its finest.
  22. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    A marvelously entertaining, deeply moving treatment of a highly controversial practice: female genital mutilation.
  23. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    This richly textured parable feels every inch the work of a master.
  24. 90
    This has to be the most richly entertaining movie anyone has ever made on the subject of female genital mutilation.
  25. 100
    Moolaade, in short, is a movie to rock the soul.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Jun 18, 2012
    A brave piece and considered personally to be an accomplished piece of cinematic achievement from the African film industry. A film that gives out a powerful political message in such a humorous, charming and heroic way that makes it a special one to watch. A perfect morality tale. Full Review »
  2. Aug 27, 2010
    In a small village in Africa, a woman stands up to tribal traditions by harboring 4 girls in her house who refuse to partake in "purification' - a mandatory ritual for all women to become married. She uses the tribes own superstitions against them by summoning a 'moolaade,' a spirit who will protect the children from the tribals entering her house. Furthermore, the tribe chief's cosmopolitan son is set to marry the same woman's daughter, only to find out she is a balikoro (unpurified). A foreign street is also there to pass judgment on the whole situation in this fascinating watch. Full Review »