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Afghan Star Reviews

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David Fear
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While its style and structure conform to the well-worn template established by docs like Spellbound, its success lies in creating an accessible, fun way into serious issues.

Full Review Source: Time Out

November 17, 2011
Emanuel Levy

Timely and intriguing docu was the winner of the Directing and Audience Awards at the Sundance Film Fest.

Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Original Score: B

June 22, 2011

For all the dramatic pull of the competition and insight into current culture and politics in Afghanistan, it's a bit of a shame that the film itself is such a dry affair.

Full Review Source: DCist | Original Score: 6/10

June 13, 2010
Sean Axmaker

... more than a popular phenomenon, this documentary shows how a simple, completely apolitical piece of entertainment crosses ethnic, regional and cultural borders...

Full Review Source:

April 11, 2010
Rob Humanick
Projection Booth

For once, the McDonald's-like spreading of American culture abroad seems to have actually been a good thing.

Full Review Source: Projection Booth

March 18, 2010
Mark R. Leeper

The film is both optimistic and depressing. This film is about a real war with real deaths that is going on in Afghanistan and one of the battlefields of that war is a pop music contest on television.

Full Review | Original Score: 8/10

March 16, 2010
Matthew Turner

Afghan Star is an engaging and important film and what it lacks in depth, it makes up for in cultural impact. Worth seeing.

Full Review Source: ViewLondon | Original Score: 4/5

January 14, 2010
Whitney Borup
Film Threat

An inspiring, fun documentary.

Full Review Source: Film Threat | Original Score: 4/5

December 15, 2009
Marc Savlov
Austin Chronicle

One of the more surreal docs to come down the pike in some time.

Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle | Original Score: 3/5

October 16, 2009
Jennifer Merin

Afghanistan's version of American Idol shines a spotlight on a culture in transition. Fascinating -- especially when it comes to the experiences of the woman who's risking her reputation and social standing in order to sing.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 4/5

October 6, 2009
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's an upbeat film, though hardly a convincing one, that shows there's more to the popular TV show than entertainment.

Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Original Score: B-

September 30, 2009
Jeff Vice
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

The filmmaking itself is pretty much by the numbers...But there's some genuine tension as the competition field narrows.

Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City | Original Score: 3/4

September 24, 2009
Michael Sragow
Baltimore Sun

The film's essential fascination and integrity swamp any qualms about its pacing or all-around moviemaking.

Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun | Original Score: 3/4

September 18, 2009
Sarah Boslaugh
Playback:stl the end of the 88 minute journey you'll learn more about contemporary Afghanistan than you will from a month of watching television news in the United States.

Full Review Source: Playback:stl | Original Score: 7/10

September 18, 2009
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Of all the films to come out of the conflict, Afghan Star is the most provocative, because its message that people are essentially the same is a dubious, double-edge sword.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 3/4

September 17, 2009
Beth Accomando

Marking has a good eye for capturing the contradictions of Afghanistan.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 6/10

September 5, 2009
Jonathan Curiel
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like The Kite Runner novel and movie, the documentary Afghan Star succeeds at dramatizing the lives of Afghans, but those we see on screen are real flesh-and-blood characters -- people who let their true feelings emerge.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 4/4

August 21, 2009
Michael Upchurch
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An informative documentary revealing how decades of war and years of Taliban repression have fallen to the wayside, however briefly, as Kabul's answer to American Idol seduces a violence-weary Afghanistan.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3/4

August 21, 2009
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

This documentary about the Afghani version of American Idol is good and worth a look, but I was never swept up by it emotionally.

Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC) | Original Score: 3.5/5

August 12, 2009
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the most hopeful and heart-rending movies I've seen this year.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 4/4

July 30, 2009
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