The Beauty Academy of Kabul (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Beauty Academy of Kabul (2006)



Critic 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.

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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.

Full Review… | December 15, 2006
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

a spiny, puzzling and highly entertaining film, and whatever you go into it thinking, you're likely to come out thinking something else.

Full Review… | December 15, 2006
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | July 14, 2006
Denver Post
Top Critic

This movie shows us a small bit of daily life as lived by real people. For that alone, we should be grateful.

June 22, 2006
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

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.

June 15, 2006
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

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
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Beauty Academy of Kabul

Pretty straight-forward watch. I thought the most poignant part were the two hairdressers who fled Afghanistan in the 1980s and were back to teach at the school. The Americans are portrayed as obnoxious and ignorant, but I don't know how much of that is a result of editing. I read "Kabul Beauty School" by Debbie Rodriguez earlier this year and I wasn't shocked to see that she was the most obnoxious American. There's been some controversy over the accuracy of her book and I thought the movie was a good addition to the stuff in the book.

Dimity  Palazzola
Dimity Palazzola

What is best about this documentary is that it is not only about a group of women helping another group of women half way around the world. It is about the daily life of this Afghan women, how there are trying to have a shred of normality in a country that it is in chaos.

Ana Araiza
Ana Araiza

This is a great documentary! I highly recommend it. One part of the film that upset me was how some of the American instructors spoke to the women with a sense of Western ignorance. There's a reason these women can't "rebel" as much as you would want them to; they could be killed.

Lauren Scheier
Lauren Scheier

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