Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Bruce Ingram
    Sep 19, 2013
    Al-Mansour has managed to embue Wadjda with a hopeful spirit, partially because she takes time to show women finding ways to be themselves in private moments. And partially because she suggests with a few subtle touches that the situation might be slowly improving.
  2. Reviewed by: Oliver Lyttelton
    Aug 23, 2013
    One of the best films of the year.
  3. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    Dec 15, 2013
    With enormous sympathy for all, Al Mansour captures the isolation of Saudi women and their parallel lives of freedom at home and invisibility outside.
  4. Reviewed by: Randy Cordova
    Oct 9, 2013
    The movie’s best moments are the small ones.
  5. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Sep 15, 2013
    It’s a stunningly assured debut, a slyly subversive delight, and one of my favorite movies of the year so far.
  6. Reviewed by: Andrew Lapin
    Sep 12, 2013
    Wadjda is an object of stark beauty, an oasis of free-spirited cinema emerging from the desert.
  7. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Sep 10, 2013
    A simple, solid, deeply affecting film.
  8. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Oct 3, 2013
    Wadjda is a movie about freedom - and nothing represents freedom with the metaphoric simplicity and symmetry of a bicycle.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Oct 3, 2013
    The world of cinema is richer for the voice of Al Mansour; she speaks for the women of her country, and for people everywhere.
  10. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Sep 30, 2013
    What makes the movie so delightful is that Wadjda isn’t trying to make trouble; she’s just being herself. A shot of the system of wire hangers attached to her radio so she can pick up Western music stations sums up her can-do attitude.
  11. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Sep 12, 2013
    Not only is this a deftly crafted and superbly acted film, but Wadjda sheds a powerful light on what women face, starting in childhood, in an oppressive regime.
  12. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Sep 13, 2013
    Wadjda offers an interesting contrast to films made in Iran. Where the latter country has a long cinematic tradition, Mansour's is the first feature shot entirely in Saudi Arabia.
  13. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Oct 24, 2013
    The easiest way for filmmakers to show injustice in the world is through the eyes of a child. In the case of Haifaa al-Mansour's movie, the injustice is Saudi Arabia's male-centric culture, and the child is a preteen girl named Wadjda.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. Sep 21, 2013
    The total lack of films that come out of Saudi Arabia made Wadjda, a Saudi film by Haiffa Al-Mansour, instantly alluring. Haiffa Al-Mansour is already credited as being the first successful woman filmmaker in Saudi Arabia’s history.

    The precocious 10-year Wadjda is growing up in Riyadh where she wants nothing more than a shiny new bicycle, but not only is she a little short on riyals, in Saudi Arabia women do not to ride bicycles. Saudi moral code bans woman from driving, going out in public unveiled, living unaccompanied, leaving the country alone, and opposing their husband’s orders in any way.

    This is very much Al- Mansour’s film. She charms the viewer with the common everyday struggles of the Saudi woman, and rather than address the issues in a combative way, her approach is warm, even cute. This draws us in to her characters and provides us with some heartfelt laughs along the way.
    Small details make grand impressions: In an all girls school teenage students paint their toenails, a sin, and are publicly vilified for it. The mere possibly that workmen half a mile away might see school girls playing in their courtyard forces all the girls to rush inside, lest they be judged impure. Pubescent girls are considered impure and must use a tissue just flip the pages of Koran.

    Wadjad’s truly beautiful mother spends much of her time perfecting her appearance only then to have to then cover herself with a full hijab. She is never openly defiant; defiance is impossible, but even thought she is obeying age old traditions that we’d assume would have dulled any emotional protest, through the mother’s submission we get a brief glimpse of her distress, the natural human emotional distress that no amount of “aged tradition” or religious subjugation has the right to inflict on any human being.

    In a country where cinemas are banned, Riyadh is not exactly a city where women can just go around shooting films. Females mixing with male co-workers would bring dire consequences. Al-Mansour shot the film anyway, directing much of it from the back of a van, and the result is a film representing the triumph of the defiant feminine spirit, in all forms.
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 29, 2014
    I saw only the beginning of the movie
    i watched her hug her dad in public !! and walk like it was ok for women or girls to walk without
    getting caught and whipped
    And watch another clip when she asked her mother if she loved him !?!? WHO ARE WE AMERICANS?
    We don't use the L word
    I wish they made it more realistic
    Full Review »
  3. Jul 1, 2014
    ''Wadjda'' one of my favorite movies of the last year!
    The story maybe sounds simple, but the really good develop, makes the film very
    interesting. The performance of the little girl it's amazing, and the script it's excellent.
    Definitely, one of the most interesting movies of the last year.
    Full Review »