Friday, September 20, 2013

Wadjda Review - 3½ Stars

“Wadjda” spins a lovely coming of age story of a Saudi Arabian pre teen girl who longs to own a bicycle so she can race the neighbor boy and beat him.  The movie is getting a lot of attention because it is one of the first Saudi films ever made and this one is directed by a woman—Waad Mohammed—a fact even more remarkable because “Wadjda” reveals a restrains against women in that society.  Against that background, Wadjda goes to school in sneakers instead of shoes, uncovers her head more often than expected and longs for the freedom of a bicycle.  This, in a  society that frowns on women drivers and allows polygamy.  Wadjda enters a contest centering on religion that possibly will bring her the money for the bicycle.  The irony of her quest is not lost on Wadjda’s teachers.  “Wadjda” tells its story with a wonderful mix of tension, humor and irony and builds to an unexpected conclusion with just a hint of hope.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Great coming of age story.  Is it entertaining?  Compelling.  Is it worth the price of admission?  Very much so.