• PG, 1 hr. 40 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Haifaa Al-Mansour
    In Theaters:
    Sep 13, 2013 Limited
    On DVD:
    Feb 11, 2014
  • Sony Pictures Classics


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Wadjda Reviews

Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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The most radical and cheering message of Wadjda is that a change isn't just possible, but inevitable.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 10, 2013
John Hartl
Seattle Times
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"Wadjda" earns extra points just for being what it is. Who knew that, in a country that famously frowns on women driving cars, some are even allowed to make movies?

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

October 17, 2013
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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This delightful debut feature by a Saudi woman named Haifaa Al-Mansour uses a bicycle as a metaphor for freedom within a social circumference.

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

October 17, 2013
Tom Long
Detroit News
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A sweet little film about the human spirit, about want and energy and determination against unfair odds.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: B+

October 11, 2013
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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In Saudi filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour's winsome wonder Wadjda, a young girl's aspirations provide an intimate glimpse into the possibilities and limitations of a cloaked culture.

Full Review Source: Denver Post

October 4, 2013
Peter Keough
Boston Globe
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More than a critique of Saudi society, "Wadjda" offers a character with universal resonance and appeal.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 3, 2013
John Anderson
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Al-Mansour seems out to make a movie that works in America. Which is likely a savvy move, since it seems unlikely she's going to get much traction back home.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3/4

October 3, 2013
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Wadjda is a movie about freedom - and nothing represents freedom with the metaphoric simplicity and symmetry of a bicycle.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 3, 2013
Randy Cordova
Arizona Republic
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"Wadjda" is a terrific film.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 4.5/5

October 3, 2013
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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Wadjda captures Saudi life on the cusp of serious change, but it's by no means a solemn drama. Al-Mansour writes and directs with a light touch and hopeful aspect.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 3, 2013
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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An unqualified delight, a sharp, insightful comedy that subversively explores women's place in Islamic society.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

September 26, 2013
Bruce Ingram
Chicago Sun-Times
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There's a lot more going on in this first feature film from Saudi Arabia, where movie theaters are banned, than the deceptively simple story of a girl who's willing to do just about anything to buy her first bicycle.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 4/4

September 20, 2013
Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
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A simple story told with economy, "Wadjda" is a notable example of old-school, humanistic filmmaking.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

September 19, 2013
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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"Wadjda" works quietly and well in its story of a young protagonist questioning the restrictive status quo.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

September 19, 2013
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
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Though writer-director Haifaa Al-Mansour doesn't break new ground aesthetically, she relates the experience of a Saudi Arabian girl's coming of age clearly and unsentimentally, which alone makes this a must-see.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

September 19, 2013
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
AV Club
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What keeps Wadjda from devolving into a sort of heavy-handed cultural show-and-tell is its title character.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: B

September 16, 2013
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
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This is not just the first feature by Haifaa Al Mansour but the first feature to be directed by a woman from Saudi Arabia. That is quite a burden, and yet by some miracle the movie bears it with lightness and grace.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

September 16, 2013
Dana Stevens
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It's a stunningly assured debut, a slyly subversive delight, and one of my favorite movies of the year so far.

Full Review Source: Slate

September 13, 2013
Farran Smith Nehme
New York Post
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What makes the movie so delightful is that Wadjda isn't trying to make trouble; she's just being herself.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 3.5/5

September 13, 2013
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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Cleanly shot, concisely edited, "Wadjda" is a film that parents and smart children could enjoy together; its heroine is both immediately a type (yes, they roll their eyes in Saudi Arabia, too) and a very specific character.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 4/5

September 13, 2013
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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Wadjda is a winning and wonderfully moving tale of an endearing 10-year-old girl, living in a suburb of Riyadh, making her voice heard in a patriarchal society that seeks to silence her.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 3.5/4

September 13, 2013
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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With impressive agility, "Wadjda" finds room to maneuver between harsh realism and a more hopeful kind of storytelling.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

September 12, 2013
Mark Jenkins
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This quiet film could become something of a cultural thunderclap.

Full Review Source: NPR

September 12, 2013
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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Drawbacks and all, it's heartening to have "Wadjda" around.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 3/5

September 12, 2013
Jordan Hoffman
New York Daily News
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This resonant film, detailing struggles in a far-flung place, represents world cinema in the classic sense.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 4/5

September 12, 2013
Keith Uhlich
Time Out New York
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There's lots of crowd-pleasing triumph at the end of Wadjda's gauntlet, but it's the implied tragedy of her future that cuts like a knife to the heart.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 4/5

September 11, 2013
Alan Scherstuhl
Village Voice
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A simple, solid, deeply affecting film, Wadjda is something rare: the work of a female Saudi filmmaker, Haifaa Al Mansour, and a feature from a country that has long outlawed cinemas.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

September 10, 2013
Deborah Young
Hollywood Reporter
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The first feature ever shot in Saudi Arabia is a winner directed by a woman, Haifaa Al Mansour.

Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter

September 9, 2013
Jay Weissberg
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A winning, handsomely crafted story with a charismatic lead guaranteed to charm international auds.

Full Review Source: Variety

September 9, 2013
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