Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 35
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 35
  3. Negative: 0 out of 35

Critic Reviews

  1. The movie is a rare uncensored postcard from a ruined place, a document at once depressing and hideously beautiful that sketches the real hardships of trampled people -- specifically women -- with authority and compelling simplicity.
  2. Superb performances from a nonprofessional cast. It's gripping, timely, and revealing.
  3. A heartbreaking, powerful drama.
  4. We are certainly entitled to marvel at its very existence, but that isn't enough. The work itself is extraordinary.
  5. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: David Denby
    The movie is an outright miracle. [8 March 2004, p. 92]
  6. 91
    Gorgeous and saddening, Osama makes the human-scale claim for the overthrow of governments ruled by the iron hand of religious fundamentalism far more persuasively than any of the rhetoric coming out of the White House or No. 10 Downing St.
  7. Osama's unvarnished vulnerability, along with the director's combination of tough-mindedness and lyricism, prevents the movie from becoming at all sentimental; instead, it is beautiful, thoughtful and almost unbearably sad.
  8. Although it's a drama, Osama feels like urgent documentary.
  9. 89
    Osama begins in fear and ends in terror. In between there's all manner of hopelessness, deprivation, and death, which is to say that as the first film to come out of a post-Taliban Afghanistan, it's practically a documentary.
  10. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    A smooth mix of humanism and keen filmmaking instincts.
  11. 88
    Brave dissenting Islamic filmmakers are risking their lives to tell the story of the persecution of women, and it is a story worth knowing, and mourning.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Osama works simply as the story of one unlucky young girl.
  13. It's a feminist nightmare, the world brought to life -- in hard-hitting documentary style.
  14. Rarely has there been so obscenely precise a depiction of ravaged innocence. This young girl has nothing to live for--and an entire life ahead of her in which to live it.
  15. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Apart from its historical interest, this tragic tale of religious extremism and misogyny is a very good film able to catch audiences up emotionally.
  16. 80
    Effective as a drama as it spirals Golbahari deeper into her nightmarish world, Osama is similarly powerful as a fictionalized account of the Taliban's obscene wish for a world where the stringent enforcement of religious laws took the place of instinctual human kindness.
  17. Its sluggish, amateur-Kiarostami character would be off-putting if the material weren't so powerful.
  18. Raw and wretchedly current, it is a story that packs a cruel emotional wallop.
  19. 80
    At the center...lies the stunning Golbahari, a nonprofessional who recalls some of Bresson's most haunting model-actors in her intense, anguished grace.
  20. 80
    The film serves as a potent reminder of what conditions were like in Afghanistan before the U.S. bombing campaign ended the Taliban's reign of terror, and, as such, its timing couldn't be any better.
  21. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Recreates the Taliban era with chilling details and startling beauty, and follows its terrified heroine on a journey that no child should have to take.
  22. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    The performances are credible, but set-pieces like the water-cannoning of a procession of burkha-clad protesters are also impeccably judged.
  23. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    In dramatic terms, Osama couldn't be much simpler. The director is aiming for a sort of tone poem of repression, the girl robbed first of her childhood, then of her burgeoning womanhood.
  24. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    The rage and sadness behind this film -- the first from Afghanistan since the Taliban's fall -- is matched by its artistry.
  25. In its small, achingly beautiful way, this is the lesson that Osama teaches us: When one human being suffers, it is all of us who share her pain.
  26. For the most part the film is a miracle of accomplishment, elegant and bold and artful in a world devoid of resources.
  27. That it is such a powerful and indeed beautiful film is simply extraordinary.
  28. 75
    In a cast of wonderful non-professional actors, unfortunately Osama is the weakest. But to be fair, Barmak focuses more on situations than on developing the characters.
  29. 75
    You watch the movie with an ongoing feeling of dread, and it's not a feeling that ever dissipates.
  30. Obviously, this is no easy sell, but give writer-director Siddiq Barmak full credit for portraying his country's social catastrophe with restraint, concision and some real beauty.
  31. 75
    A harrowing depiction of a woman's plight under the Taliban.
  32. Ends up being of greater historical significance than of any lasting artistic merit.
  33. Compelling despite an almost complete lack of subtlety.
  34. There are too few surprises and even less subtlety in the telling. We can only sit and wait for the next bomb to drop on this poor exploited girl.
  35. Rough around the edges, but effectively presents the quandary of women during the repressive religious regime.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 2 out of 11
  1. Mud
    Sep 10, 2007
    women used to experience safety and freedom in the time of taliban and the regime was not6 evil as being presented in the western media to women used to experience safety and freedom in the time of taliban and the regime was not6 evil as being presented in the western media to justify the killing of innocent people in Afghanistan by America after they themselves conducted the twin tower blasts see loose change to know the truth. Full Review »