Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Waad Mohammed, Abdullrahman Al Gohani, Reem Abdullah, Sultn l Assaf

Rated: PG for thematic elements, brief mild language and smoking
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: October 13, 2013 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

Socially savvy and sensitively drawn by a distaff Saudi auteur is a cannily constructed unhurried tale quite idealistic but inspirational as well as fascinating.

Wadjda (fully subtitled) is more than a fly on-the-wall to preteen (coming-of-age) life in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for a girl as indefatigable as acted by Waad Mohammed. The eponymous daydream is scolded by her teacher, a very good Muslim, for not having her head covered.

Perhaps this endearing confection (suitable for families) excels most from its amiable, competitive protagonist who just wants a green bicycle especially when it concerns her neighbor Abdullah (Abdullrahman Al Gohani). Unfazed by the little opportunity she has at this point in her life she'll even take on the challenges of the Koran to financially sublimate her simple if forbidden wish. Around a loving home and family life afforded to her by her parents (Reem Abdullah, Sultan Al Assaf) the stronger thematic emphasis is balanced with natural wry spontaneity.

Haifaa Al Mansour gives an honest, gentle immediacy to her milieu in the shadow (literally) of the subjective opposite sex who cannot be obstructed at any time and consistently renders it all with an ironic warmth around the sexism and austerity with a sense of subverting her clearly designated place in society. Wadjda is just a typical youngster with little if nary any skill when it comes to literacy or riding with the joy of racing. The intimacy and positivity when it comes to the expression and execution of the material fueled by Mohammed's appeal and curiosity proves quite delightful in the seriousness and resiliency to counter a life burdened with dark veils to stay out of view.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Wadjda        A-                     A- 

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