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Wadjda review

A politically charged coming-of-ager

Making unheard voices heard is the thrust of this poignant, playful and politically charged coming-of-ager from Haifaa Al-Mansour (Saudi Arabia’s first female director and the first person to shoot a whole movie in SA) .

Waad Mohammed is effortlessly winning as Wadjda, a rebellious kid with a longing for a bike, whose teachers tell her girls shouldn’t ride – or speak out. Wadjda won’t be silenced, though, and her tenacity drives her to a Qur’an recital contest.

Al-Mansour carefully dodges easy uplift, but her message of hope to future generations of Saudi women is clear.

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Freelance writer

Kevin Harley is a freelance journalist with bylines at Total Film, Radio Times, The List, and others, specializing in film and music coverage. He can most commonly be found writing movie reviews and previews at GamesRadar+.