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Wadjda (2012)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  16 May 2013 (Netherlands)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 10,658 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 53 user | 152 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

An enterprising Saudi girl signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remaining funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest.

Director:

(as Haifaa Al Mansour)

Writer:

(as Haifaa Al Mansour)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 25 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Reem Abdullah ...
...
Abdullrahman Al Gohani ...
Abdullah (as Abdullrahman Algohani)
...
Sultan Al Assaf ...
Alanoud Sajini ...
Rafa Al Sanea ...
Dana Abdullilah ...
Rehab Ahmed ...
Nouf Saad ...
Koran Teacher
Ibrahim Almozael ...
Toy Shop Owner
Mohammed Zahir ...
Iqbal - the Driver
Sara Aljaber ...
Noura Faisal ...
Abeer
Talal Loay ...
Abeer's Young Man
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Storyline

WADJDA is a 10-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Although she lives in a conservative world, Wadjda is fun loving, entrepreneurial and always pushing the boundaries of what she can get away with. After a fight with her friend Abdullah, a neighborhood boy she shouldn't be playing with, Wadjda sees a beautiful green bicycle for sale. She wants the bicycle desperately so that she can beat Abdullah in a race. But Wadjda's mother won't allow it, fearing repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl's virtue. So Wadjda decides to try and raise the money herself. At first, Wadjda's mother is too preoccupied with convincing her husband not to take a second wife to realize what's going on. And soon enough Wadjda's plans are thwarted when she is caught running various schemes at school. Just as she is losing hope of raising enough money, she hears of a cash prize for a Koran recitation competition at her school. She devotes herself... Written by Razor Film Produktion GmbH

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, brief mild language and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Language:

Release Date:

16 May 2013 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

La bicicleta verde  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$41,253 (USA) (13 September 2013)

Gross:

$1,347,578 (USA) (24 January 2014)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first feature length film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia. See more »

Goofs

The first part of the movie shows a group of girls at school doing ritual washing before prayer. One girl wipes her ear right after washing her arm. The proper sequence is: arm, then head (hair), then ear. See more »

Connections

References The Matrix (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

121 solo
Written by Adam Fox and Stephen Day
Published by Sonoton Music GmbH & Co. KG
With kind permission of Sonoton Music Gmbh & Co. KG
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A simple story told really well
13 October 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The director Haifaa Al-Mansour tells the tale of a child called Wadjda whose wish is to have her own bicycle so that she might race against her friend and neighbour Abeer. The only problem is that Wadjda is a girl and girls in Saudi society do not ride bikes, which are considered "boys' toys" ... As we follow Wadjda in her quest to find the money to purchase the bicycle she sees being delivered on the roof of a van, we are introduced to her society and its culture and, in particular, its treatment of girls and women. Al-Mansour's portrayal of her country is shown without heavy judgement, although the bitter sweetness of being female is not concealed.

Filmed on location in Saudi Arabia, a feat in itself in a country that does not have a film industry as films are considered sinful, Wadjda's desire represents the wish for female freedom; her lack of a bicycle is mirrored in the adult women's inability to drive, prohibited for women in Saudi Arabia, and the problems this creates for them. So the child's desire to ride a bike becomes a metaphor for freedom, which is the central theme in the film.

This is a subtle tale full of character, charm and complexities and not at all as one might expect. The young girl who carries the film, Waad Mohammed, is terrific and it is hard to believe that she was not an actress before appearing in this feature.

Does Wadjda achieve her desire and get her bike? Is she able to race it along the dusty roads as free as her friend Abeer and the other boys? Well, you will have to watch the film for the answers and in watching the film will support the director and the nascent film industry emerging from within Saudi Arabia.


63 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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