Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (23)
| Top Critics (6)
| Fresh (22)
| Rotten (1)
Foroughi's visual storytelling is impressive.
Ava is a layered, complex character, and one that anyone who was ever a teenager can identify with.
Foroughi finds the balance in an overwrought situation.
While Ava may not reach the rousing heights of the similarly-themed titles like Wadjda and Mustang, it certainly puts its sharp-eyed filmmaker Foroughi on the cinematic map.
Lurching relentlessly from one conflict to another, the movie distills its emotions - and maintains its momentum - in conversations of remarkably controlled intensity.
At its most gripping, Ava communicates...familiar adolescent agonies through formal detail that makes them smolder anew.
Beautifully observed, Sadaf Foroughi's feature début explores the way that, even in societies explicitly controlled by men, it's often women who enforce social rules and seek to control one another's behaviour.
The tension is high, and the stakes are kept punishingly human.
All in all, Ava is an accomplished work that marks bright futures for all its cast and crew, particularly writer-director Sadaf Foroughi and star Mahour Jabbari.
Sympathetic to even the most misguided characters before her lens, the filmmaker's desire to see what makes people tick reveals a big heart and in "Ava," it never stops beating.
Kudos are also in order for Jabbari, who does most of the heavy lifting on screen and handles the emotionally draining subject matter in confident, captivating fashion.
Foroughi's shrewd filmmaking uses the frame to advantage: the tightening of Ava's constraints is matched by the tightening of the mise en scène around her.
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