Osama (2004)


Critic Consensus: Osama is bitterly honest, deeply disturbing, and utterly worth watching.


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Inspired by a true story, a tale which centers on three generations of women, deeply affected by the advent of the Taliban's rule in their land. Golbahari, a 12-year-old Afghan girl and her mother lose their jobs when this new regime closes the hospital where they work. As the Taliban has already begun to take over Afghanistan, the country's women find themselves forbidden to leave their houses without a 'legal companion'--specifically, a boy or a man. With both her husband and brother dead, there is no one left to support the family--and without being able to leave the house, this mother is left with nowhere to turn. Feeling that she has no other choice, the mother--along with the grandmother--disguises her daughter, Golbahari, as a boy. Now called Osama, the girl embarks on a terrifying and confusing journey as she tries to keep the Taliban from finding out her true identity.

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Critic Reviews for Osama

All Critics (102) | Top Critics (36)

The first film shot entirely in Afghanistan since the rise and fall of the Taliban, and it's a heartbreaking look back at life under that regime.

Aug 7, 2004

We've heard so much about the cruelty of the Taliban that we think we've heard it all. But there's something about seeing one small human story played out that is still overwhelming.

Apr 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/5

Barmak proves an able craftsman. If the film's story stammers here and there, its overall power can't be denied.

Mar 12, 2004 | Rating: B+

Barmak and his little star bring artistry and truth to the plight of women under the Taliban.

Mar 12, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/4

A harrowing look at a disturbingly recent time that seems more rooted in a barbaric, distant past.

Mar 11, 2004 | Rating: B+

A must-see for anyone with an interest in the rest of the world.

Mar 11, 2004 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for Osama

The first Afghan film since the fall of the Taliban, Osama is a deeply harrowing and touching movie of great historical importance set during a monstrous regime that seems to have existed centuries ago, only it hasn't been that long that it came to an end.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Succeeds where Kandahar doesn't in depicting the plight of women in Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


Holy cow this is not a film to watch if you want a feel-good movie! The horrible life that these women (young and old) had to endure in this country boggles the mind. It's an amazing insight on a whole entire different culture that needs to never ever flourish. Very well done film. Very depressing though.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


A miserable look at a girl named Osama living in the Taliban as a boy; what a crappy existence, but a well-made film.

Lafe Fredbjornson
Lafe Fredbjornson

Super Reviewer

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