Wadjda - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Wadjda Reviews

Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
December 10, 2013
The most radical and cheering message of Wadjda is that a change isn't just possible, but inevitable.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
John Hartl
Seattle Times
October 17, 2013
"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 | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 17, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
October 11, 2013
A sweet little film about the human spirit, about want and energy and determination against unfair odds.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
October 4, 2013
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.
Top Critic
Peter Keough
Boston Globe
October 3, 2013
More than a critique of Saudi society, "Wadjda" offers a character with universal resonance and appeal.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
John Anderson
Newsday
October 3, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Cary Darling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
October 3, 2013
The film is deserving of its position as a pioneer. It's a heartfelt, touching peek into the day-to-day life of a culture Westerners rarely get to see.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 3, 2013
Wadjda is a movie about freedom - and nothing represents freedom with the metaphoric simplicity and symmetry of a bicycle.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Randy Cordova
Arizona Republic
October 3, 2013
"Wadjda" is a terrific film.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
October 3, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
September 26, 2013
An unqualified delight, a sharp, insightful comedy that subversively explores women's place in Islamic society.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Bruce Ingram
Chicago Sun-Times
September 20, 2013
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 | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
September 19, 2013
A simple story told with economy, "Wadjda" is a notable example of old-school, humanistic filmmaking.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
September 19, 2013
"Wadjda" works quietly and well in its story of a young protagonist questioning the restrictive status quo.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
September 19, 2013
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.
Top Critic
September 16, 2013
What keeps Wadjda from devolving into a sort of heavy-handed cultural show-and-tell is its title character.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
September 16, 2013
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.
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
September 13, 2013
It's a stunningly assured debut, a slyly subversive delight, and one of my favorite movies of the year so far.
Top Critic
Farran Smith Nehme
New York Post
September 13, 2013
What makes the movie so delightful is that Wadjda isn't trying to make trouble; she's just being herself.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
September 13, 2013
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 | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
September 13, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
September 12, 2013
With impressive agility, "Wadjda" finds room to maneuver between harsh realism and a more hopeful kind of storytelling.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
September 12, 2013
This quiet film could become something of a cultural thunderclap.
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
September 12, 2013
Drawbacks and all, it's heartening to have "Wadjda" around.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Jordan Hoffman
New York Daily News
September 12, 2013
This resonant film, detailing struggles in a far-flung place, represents world cinema in the classic sense.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Keith Uhlich
Time Out New York
September 11, 2013
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 | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Alan Scherstuhl
Village Voice
September 10, 2013
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.
Top Critic
Deborah Young
Hollywood Reporter
September 9, 2013
The first feature ever shot in Saudi Arabia is a winner directed by a woman, Haifaa Al Mansour.
Top Critic
Jay Weissberg
Variety
September 9, 2013
A winning, handsomely crafted story with a charismatic lead guaranteed to charm international auds.