Sony Pictures Classics | Release Date: September 13, 2013
7.4
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 34 Ratings
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8
theseparatorSep 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
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.
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3 of 3 users found this helpful30
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10
NateNixonJul 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,
''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.
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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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8
jeremypOct 25, 2013
A delightfully subtly subversive movie from Saudi Arabia. I'm not sure how it got by the censors, unless they missed the undertone. It's a fascinating glimpse inside the desert kingdom, and it's cultural grips on the freedom of women. TheA delightfully subtly subversive movie from Saudi Arabia. I'm not sure how it got by the censors, unless they missed the undertone. It's a fascinating glimpse inside the desert kingdom, and it's cultural grips on the freedom of women. The symbolism is there to see. A girl wants to own a bicycle so she can race her friend, a boy, who has one, but girls riding bicycles is frowned upon (it could break the hymen.) The mother cannot drive a car so she has to put up with a churlish "driver" hired by the husband. Not only churlish but foreign. Daughter, like mother, has severe restrictions on her ability to move freely.
The girl is headstrong and proceeds to try and find a way to buy a bike, by entering a competition on reciting and memorizing the Koran, not for the sake of her spirituality, but for pragmatics: there is a money prize. The girl's goal is not piety but the chance of some freedom. The mother is struggling with the fact that her husband is about to marry a second wife, but tells her daughter it is her Uncle's wedding. She finds her daughter's dream of a bike counter to her own imprisonment and impotence, and projectively lashes out at her. In the end the girl gets her wish, but we all know her freedom will be fleeting. It's a simple but powerful film, and the Director let's the actions speak for themselves without over reaching and moralizing.
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0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
Iky009Oct 9, 2015
Right away we sympathize with Wadjda, is certainly a sensational character, her tomboyish way is charming, taking into account their culture and religion in which many things are restricted to women, we see a little girl in search of whatRight away we sympathize with Wadjda, is certainly a sensational character, her tomboyish way is charming, taking into account their culture and religion in which many things are restricted to women, we see a little girl in search of what craves it's nothing unless the simple joy of cycling. Expand
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9
cesardpb10Nov 9, 2013
Wow, a movie made with heart for the heart.
It's a very simple plot but extremely beautiful, the main character, Wadjda, stole your heart from the beginning.
Definitely a movie that everybody should watch and feel.
I love it.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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9
BeeceeMay 8, 2015
I finally saw this film on video, and it knocked me out. Both the 10-year old heroine and her mother are very sympathetic. Like many Iranian films, it has a simple plot but portrays down-to-earth people and a glimpse of a relatively closedI finally saw this film on video, and it knocked me out. Both the 10-year old heroine and her mother are very sympathetic. Like many Iranian films, it has a simple plot but portrays down-to-earth people and a glimpse of a relatively closed society. Kudos for the female filmmaker who braved many difficulties to film this in Saudi Arabia. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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