Watch Wadjda

"I want you to be the happiest person in the world."
  • PG
  • 2013
  • 1 hr 38 min
  • 7.5  (21,356)
  • 81

Wadjda is a 2012 movie directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour about a 10-year-old girl named Wadjda who lives in the conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She has big dreams and aspirations, but her environment appears to be limiting her potential. Her story is a poignant reflection on the restrictions imposed on women in Saudi Arabian society, offering insights into the complexities of growing up in an austere, male-dominated culture.

The movie begins with Wadjda’s futile attempt to purchase a bike, something that is considered a luxury for girls in Saudi Arabia. As she walks to school every day, Wadjda sees boys zipping around on bicycles, but she is not allowed to ride one herself. Determined to get her hands on one, she decides to raise the money by participating in a Quran-recitation contest. This bold move angers her mother, who wants to shelter her from the strictures of society, and sets her off on a journey of self-discovery.

Throughout the film, we see glimpses of the harsh realities that women in Saudi Arabia face every day. Wadjda’s mother, played by Reem Abdullah, is deeply frustrated with her life, caged in by social norms and her own unfulfilled desires. She wears a full burqa when she goes out in public, something that Wadjda is too young to understand the significance of.

In addition to exploring the issues of gender and social constraints, the movie touches upon other themes such as the effects of modernization on traditional societies. Wadjda’s school teacher illustrates this well, as she blends traditional Islamic education with the use of modern technology such as a video projector.

There is an interesting contrast between Wadjda’s school and her home. At school, she is encouraged to explore her creativity and curiosity, and she is given opportunities to interact with girls from different backgrounds. However, at home, she is forced to conform to the expectations of her mother and society, where she is never allowed to express her true self entirely.

Waad Mohammed, who portrays Wadjda, delivers an outstanding performance. Her character is fearless and hardworking, and she shines in some of the most memorable scenes of the film, such as her creative use of the Quranic verses and the final bike race. Her strength and determination despite the obstacles in her way make her a heroine to root for.

The cinematography of the movie is also remarkable. The camera captures the beauty of the Arabian landscape while providing a glimpse of the stark contrast between the modern, glitzy buildings and the traditional, shabby houses where Wadjda and her mother reside.

Overall, Wadjda is an inspiring movie that offers a rare insight into the lives of women in a conservative society. It is a story of a young girl's determination to break free from societal norms and pursue her dreams, even when it seems impossible. The film provides a glimpse into the emotional complexities of growing up in an austere, male-dominated culture, and the challenges that women face while searching for their identities. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in understanding the cultural landscape of Saudi Arabia and how it shapes the experiences of its people.

Wadjda is a 2013 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 38 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5 and a MetaScore of 81.

Where to Watch Wadjda
Wadjda is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Wadjda for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 38 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (21,356)
  • Metascore