IMDB Synopsis: A headstrong young girl in Afghanistan disguises herself as a boy in order to provide for her family.
If I was a parent of a very young child, I would want to know that this feature has a serious subject matter, is somewhat violent in parts but raises social awareness regarding women in Afghanistan or under Taliban rule. SPOILERS HERE The father is arrested for teaching his young daughter to read. He has only one leg, lost the other in the war. The mother is beat in the street by an agent of Taliban for being a woman without a man accompanying her in public. The young girl shaves her head and is able to disguise herself as a boy, allowing herself to be able to shop for food and work to earn money to support her family. There is an arranged marriage in the middle of it to a cousin’s son. The man who comes to pick them up for the marriage basically takes them into his custody by stealing the baby boy of the family and coercing them to get into the car. There is discussion of how easy it is to bribe guards to get the father out. In the end, a kind man helped and was shot in the process. There is a happy ending (overall) but wow.
When I was a kid, I remember sneaking to watch Watership Down on HBO (animated feature from 1978). I had to sneak because Ma thought it was too much for a young kid to see it. It was about rabbits, their quest to get to the other side of the road and how death occurred on that journey (I simplified the hell out of that story line, but that is what I took away from it at the age of 10-11). “All the world will be your enemy and when they catch you they will kill you. But first, they must catch you.” (paraphrasing the tagline). It was not the end of me, seeing it at the age of 10-11. But I can remember that I should have watched it with a parent who could have explained things for me that happened in the story. I feel the same about this feature.
In other words, this is not a happy-g0-lucky feature that you would use as a babysitting tool for your toddler to watch as you cook dinner one night. It is, however, a potential tool to teach your preteen daughter about how women in other parts of the world have fewer (to no) options in how they want to live their lives (including what they are allowed to wear).
There is a story-in-the-story during the feature. The father teaches the daughter how to tell stories, she uses that gift at various times to calm herself, her family, her friend and it gives courage, resolve and solutions as she does so. There are two types of animation employed (one for the main story, one for the story she tells). The main animation is animation that (IMHO) does not try to look like real people or real animals but is an actual cartoon drawing. If you have seen Song of the Sea – this is in the same style.
It was a beautiful feature, full of colors and stories and education. I would recommend it for watching, just not very young kids. I think we should protect them and allow them to be children (if we are able to) for a while before bringing these subjects up for discussion.
I watched this feature on Netflix.
Additional Movie Info:
It received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 94% Fresh. It received a Rotten Tomato audience rating of 87% liking it. Average Rating: 4.1/5 with a number of User Ratings: 944.
Specs: Release date: 17 November 2017 (USA) / Runtime: 94 minutes / Budget: $10M
- First feature film project for Guru Studio.
- This is the only film nominated for best animated feature at the 2018 Oscars not produced in the United States.
- Based on the book of the same name.
- There really are very few IMDB trivia pieces on this.