Another film based on a book I haven’t read. Coco may be the frontrunner for the Best Animated Film Oscar, this film is widely considered to be a darkhorse. While Disney/Pixar may be the gold standard when it comes to animated films, it is nice to see other studios come to the plate.
Synopsis: The Breadwinner tells the story of Parvana, an 11-year-old girl growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. When her father is wrongfully arrested, Parvana disguises herself as a boy in order to support her family. With dauntless perseverance, Parvana draws strength from the stories her father told her, and ultimately risks her life to discover if he is still alive. Equal parts thrilling and enchanting, The Breadwinner is a timely and inspiring tale about the transcendent power of stories, and their potential to unite and heal us all. (Elevation Pictures)
Starring: Saara Chaudry, Laara Sadiq, and Shaista Latif
Writers: Anita Doron and Deborah Ellis
Director: Nora Twomey
Rating: PG (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 94mins
For showtimes and more, check out on movietimes.com.
Now with Coco and The Breadwinner, it is definitely nice to different representation in animated films. While the former depicted Mexican culture and traditions in a respectful way, this one does the same with Muslim culture and traditions but this is no Disney/Pixar film by any means so it doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality that was, and still is, being a female in the Muslim world.
The story follows an 11-year-old girl Afghani named Parvana (Chaudry) who chops off most of her hair in order to become a boy and provide for her family once her father is wrongfully imprisoned thus literally becoming the breadwinner. She couldn’t make it nearly as far as a girl as we clearly saw how differently she was treated as a boy as opposed to when she was a girl. She had to navigate her way through all the misogyny rampant in the Taliban-controlled city where she lived.
In addition to telling a compelling story, it also teaches the obvious lesson about the treatment of women in that area of the world with Parvana experiencing this firsthand. She saw what being a boy got her so she went on an adventures in the hopes of getting her father back. It was going to be tough, however, she always kept up hope, relying on her father’s stories for inspiration. Along the way, Parvana met another girl in a similar situation named Shauzia (Soma Chhaya) with whom she began to imagine what her life could be until reality set in which worked against the original narrative.
Parvana had a great imagination with the film depicting her stories using paper-type animation. The one story she told throughout was inventive though it didn’t always come at the right time within the main narrative. There were other things going on which was occasionally hard to follow but the story was at its strongest when it focused on Parvana. Despite the dark subject matter, the film counteracted that with plenty of bright color. Things may appear grim but the film showed signs that things could change.
Overall, this was a beautiful animated film with important subject matter that may not be for everyone and features a story with a compelling main character that loses its strength whenever it strays away from that character.