Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (28)
| Top Critics (10)
| Fresh (24)
| Rotten (4)
This plays like Law and Order, but there are also striking glimpses of a backward society in rapid transition.
An affecting drama that is honest and clear-eyed about Hirut's trauma, and the ongoing struggles she'll face even if she's freed, without ever treating her abuse in an exploitative manner.
Mehari's drama about the landmark court case that ended child bride kidnapping in Ethiopia is hardly a sophisticated film. But that can't diminish the importance of its message.
This film is a necessary reminder of what can happen when people preserve tradition for its own sake.
"Difret" has an earnestness that hovers between plain-spoken and pedestrian, and there are scenes and sequences that just don't come together as written and edited, no matter how admirable the film's existence is.
Difret is painful but profound, skirting the pitfalls of the inspirational biopic for something more grounded and remarkable. Its authenticity extends beyond its central characters, conveying a very real sense of what is at stake.
Although the film doesn't dig into its characters' backstories much beyond Meaza, so as not to take away from the film's energetic pace, it treats all of them with respect, no matter how perverse their views may seem.
Difret is heavy-handed cinema and conflicted advocacy for a cause that deserves better.
Change is complex-[Difret] illustrates that.
It's not always a riveting sit, perhaps too procedural at times, but the effort excels at providing a glimpse of a little-known human rights violation, and one that continues to occur around the world to this day.
Tizita Hagere as Hirut Assefa provides the film with its stark emotional center while the unassuming cinematography emphasizes the feeling that the audience aren't just bystanders, but witnesses.
It's not exceptional filmmaking - the characters are particularly thin - but that doesn't make it anything less than necessary viewing.
It is a bit disappointing to see an important subject matter like this become a rather heavy-handed drama in the hands of a not very talented director, with problems of editing, many unnecessary scenes and lack of emotional weight (unable even to create suspense).
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