Afghan Star - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Afghan Star Reviews

Top Critic
David Fear
Time Out
November 17, 2011
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.
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
September 17, 2009
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.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jonathan Curiel
San Francisco Chronicle
August 21, 2009
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 | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Michael Upchurch
Seattle Times
August 21, 2009
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 | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
July 30, 2009
One of the most hopeful and heart-rending movies I've seen this year.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
July 24, 2009
This eye-opening film reveals that even systems as dubious as the Idol format mean dramatically different things when transferred to radically dissimilar cultures.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
July 23, 2009
Havana Marking's excellent, illuminating film follows four Afghan Star finalists over the frenetic final months leading to the Moment of Truth.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
July 17, 2009
In its vivid, suspenseful depiction of a high-stakes competition for prize money and the honor of being named Afghanistan's top singer, Afghan Star goes much deeper.
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
July 16, 2009
Afghan Star reveals that the Afghan people strongly crave to make up for years lost to Taliban repression and catch up with the 21st century.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ben Mankiewicz
At the Movies
June 29, 2009
If you think American Idol is a cultural phenomenon here, imagine its impact on a country devastated by 30 years of internal strife, religious intolerance, civil war and foreign invasion.
Top Critic
Ben Lyons
At the Movies
June 29, 2009
This is about an Afghan culture that is at a real turning point.
Top Critic
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
June 26, 2009
British filmmaker Havana Marking's entertaining first feature documentary.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
June 26, 2009
Fascinating and, when you see Afghan versions of Simon Cowell and Co. reacting to tryouts, a reminder of how fame and the thirst for it is the same in any language.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Stephen Holden
New York Times
June 26, 2009
The movie uses the talent show Afghan Star as a prism through which to examine the fragmented tribal culture of Afghanistan as reflected in the backgrounds of four finalists (two of them women) and the public responses to their performances.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
June 26, 2009
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Noel Murray
AV Club
June 25, 2009
If nothing else, Afghan Star offers a reminder of how much has changed in Afghanistan from the late '70s -- when Kabul was a secular-oriented city with co-ed universities and a thriving nightclub scene -- to the rise of the Taliban.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
Village Voice
June 24, 2009
If you think it's impossible to underestimate the cultural significance of American Idol, go see British filmmaker Havana Marking's documentary about its Afghani imitator.
Top Critic
Chris Barsanti
Hollywood Reporter
June 23, 2009
Although sadly rife with gut-clenching moments as those, Afghan Star is most thrilling when depicting the show's delicately balanced effort to bring Afghans together despite their fractious ethnic and clan boundaries.
Top Critic
Sarah Cohen
Time Out
March 27, 2009
And 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.