The Breadwinner, B
Rated PG-13, 94 minutes
The inspiring, touching new animated film "The Breadwinner" is a nice reminder (along with last week's equally touching "Coco") that heartwarming storie can take place anywhere. There are some familiar touches for the genre, but it's a brave look at a society that's unfamiliar to many.
Parvana (Saara Chaudry) is an 11-year-old girl who lives under Taliban rule in Afghanistan in 2001. After the wrongful arrest of her father, Parvana cuts off her hair and dresses like a boy to support her family. Working alongside her friend Shauzia (Soma Bhatia), she soon discovers a new world of freedom and danger. Drawing strength from the fantastical stories she invents, Parvana embarks on an epic quest to find her father and reunite her family.
"The Breadwinner" is directed by "Song of the Sea's" Nora Twomey and co-written by Anita Doron and Deborah Ellis and based on Ellis' 2001 children's book and series of the same name. Charming, honest and filled with many poignant moments, it makes some heartfelt statements about loyalty, family and gender roles. Most important, it has a sweet, compelling and relatable story, regardless of where you live or are from.
The animation is not as clean and crisp as you'll find in Pixar, but this in fact works to the film's advantage, as it gives you a feel that you are actually reading a book, and it easily draws you into the story. "The Breadwinner," though it's about a young girl's struggle to reunite with her father, who was wrongly imprisoned, is suitable for the family, but it comes recommended for those about 10 years of age and up, as it deals with some very adult issues, including a couple of scenes of violence to Afghan women.
Sorry, there are no cute talking animals - it's not that type of animated film - so if you do take those under the age of 10, be prepared to have a question-answer-session after the film, which might not be a bad thing. "The Breadwinner" ends fairly predictable but there are also some nice, honest real-life touches, making a worthy, albeit different, animated entry that is also getting some awards buzz.