The Beauty Academy of Kabul

Critics Consensus

There's nothing frivolous about beauty school when hearing about the individual lives of these women in Afghanistan, and the contrast between them and the idealistic beauticians from America.



Reviews Counted: 54

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Average Rating: 3.2/5

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Movie Info

A team of women attempts to bring a vital part of the American way of life to war-torn Afghanistan in this documentary. Sponsored by U.S.-based manufacturers of hair-care products and cosmetics, a group of American volunteers traveled to Afghanistan to start the nation's first Western-styled school of cosmetology after the collapse of the Taliban. Eager to offer Afghan women a different way of looking at themselves and others, the friendly but often gregarious Americans occasionally find themselves at odds with their Afghan students, who still possess deeply ingrained notions of modesty and gender inequality as they learn to style hair and apply makeup as they do in the West. The Beauty Academy of Kabul was shown in competition at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival.


Critic Reviews for The Beauty Academy of Kabul

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (26)

  • Most of the students had suffered or witnessed horrific abuses and crimes under the Taliban, yet the film shows two fatuous U.S. instructors who clearly missed the sensitivity training.

    Dec 15, 2006 | Full Review…
  • a spiny, puzzling and highly entertaining film, and whatever you go into it thinking, you're likely to come out thinking something else.

    Dec 15, 2006
  • Any film that raises this many interesting questions is worth seeing, though Beauty Academy never goes quite deep enough to become essential.

    Jul 14, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • This movie shows us a small bit of daily life as lived by real people. For that alone, we should be grateful.

    Jun 22, 2006 | Rating: 3/5
  • Yes, (Mid)west is (Mid)west and (Mid)east is (Mid)east, but the twain do meet -- sort of -- in this fascinating, unassuming little film.

    Jun 15, 2006 | Rating: B-
  • Without editorializing, Mermin raises fascinating questions about the cultural impact of globalization, the allure of the West, and the troubled history of an ancient land.

    May 19, 2006 | Rating: 3/4

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