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The Beauty Academy of Kabul (2006)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 54
Fresh: 47 | Rotten: 7

There's nothing frivolous about beauty school when hearing about the individual lives of these women in Afghanistan, and the contrast between them and the idealistic beauticians from America.


Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 26
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 2

There's nothing frivolous about beauty school when hearing about the individual lives of these women in Afghanistan, and the contrast between them and the idealistic beauticians from America.



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Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 1,033

My Rating

Movie Info

A team of women attempts to bring a vital part of the American way of life to war-torn Afghanistan in this documentary. Sponsored by U.S.-based manufacturers of hair-care products and cosmetics, a group of American volunteers traveled to Afghanistan to start the nation's first Western-styled school of cosmetology after the collapse of the Taliban. Eager to offer Afghan women a different way of looking at themselves and others, the friendly but often gregarious Americans occasionally find


Documentary, Special Interest

Dec 19, 2006

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All Critics (56) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (47) | Rotten (7)

Most of the students had suffered or witnessed horrific abuses and crimes under the Taliban, yet the film shows two fatuous U.S. instructors who clearly missed the sensitivity training.

December 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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a spiny, puzzling and highly entertaining film, and whatever you go into it thinking, you're likely to come out thinking something else.

December 15, 2006 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Any film that raises this many interesting questions is worth seeing, though Beauty Academy never goes quite deep enough to become essential.

July 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
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This movie shows us a small bit of daily life as lived by real people. For that alone, we should be grateful.

June 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
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Yes, (Mid)west is (Mid)west and (Mid)east is (Mid)east, but the twain do meet -- sort of -- in this fascinating, unassuming little film.

June 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Without editorializing, Mermin raises fascinating questions about the cultural impact of globalization, the allure of the West, and the troubled history of an ancient land.

May 19, 2006
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Captures the essence of Americans' sense of empowerment and innate goodness -- and our cultural myopia.

March 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

It is that lack of small-minded judgment which distinguishes The Beauty Academy of Kabul and which makes it thoughtful, yet so much fun to watch.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A skin deep in beauty documentary with hairdressers as healers.

December 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A few of the academy's students receive personal profiles, and their resilience after years of war and oppression is remarkable. If ever that "triumph of the human spirit" cliché could be applied to a group of people, this is it.

December 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

The teachers have moxie. The students have courage. Mermin's warm, funny, beautiful and deeply humane documentary certainly honors the latter.

September 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Oregonian

It rather eloquently makes the case that individuals who have confidence and self-worth can build a country with confidence and self-worth.

June 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Ugly Americans try to teach Afghans to be pretty.

June 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

It's a demonstration of the ancient proverb: Give a man a fish and you have fed him for today, but teach a man to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

The interaction between the self-absorbed, oblivious hairdressers and their quiet, stubborn, traditional students runs from the hilarious to the heartbreaking.

June 2, 2006
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

That the film is even this watchable has to do more with the subjects themselves.

May 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Mermin's docu neither makes light of the project nor suggests that it will bring large-scale change, instead it focuses on the moments of camaraderie the develop between women who share commitment to hair despite cultural differences.

May 8, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Can be a frustrating experience because of representation issues.

May 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

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