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Wadjda (Two Disc Combo: Blu-ray / DVD)

4.5 out of 5 stars 247 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A story set in Saudi Arabia and focused on the experiences of a young girl who challenges her country's traditions.

Product Details

  • Actors: Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah, Abdullrahman Al Gohani
  • Directors: Haifaa Al-Mansour
  • Format: Blu-ray, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Arabic
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 11, 2014
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00GMV8B1G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,576 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 19, 2013
Format: DVD
"Wadjda" (2012 release from Saudi Arabia; 98 min.) brings the story of Wadjda, a young girl (I'm guessing 10 or 11 yr. old), an only child living with her mom in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Her dad is often absent due to work, and in addition we later learn he is considering taking a second wife who could bear him a son. Wadjda is a free spirit, wearing western style shoes and clothes and listening to 'evil music' (that would be Grouplove) on the radio. She is friends with a young boy who has a bike and it is her dream to get her own bike, so that she can race him and beat him. Alas, she cannot afford to buy a bike herself as is costs 800 Riyals. But as luck would have it, her school is holding a Koran competition where the winner will get 1,000 Riyals. To tell you more of the plot would surely ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: first of all, the fact that this movie was made at all is nothing short of a small miracle (the first movie shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, a country where there are no movie theatres), and that it was directed by a woman (another first), Haifaa al-Mansour, is even more astonishing. Writer-director al-Mansour brings us a compassionate story of freedom (or the lack thereof) and what it means to grow up as a woman in Saudi Arabia. While of course a good part of the story focuses on the young girl, equally important (and biting) is what happens to her mother, who must rely on a driver to get her to her job (women aren't allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia) and who must try and charm/convince her husband not to seek a second wife (which is allowed under Saudi law).
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Format: Blu-ray
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0

When it comes to women in Saudi Arabia, don't expect any gargantuan steps. Of course this is a society where women are not allowed to drive. So the release of Haifaa Al-Mansour's 'Wadjda', the first feature by a Saudi female director, should be considered groundbreaking. Given the constraints placed on women, it's amazing 'Wadja' was made at all; at times, director Al-Mansour was forced to direct the film via walkie-talkie from a van, as she was not permitted to mingle with men, while filming.

But it's better to look at the film objectively and evaluate it like any other film as opposed to admiring it simply because it also represents a first-time, pioneering effort. The story is simple: Wadjda is a young girl who lives with her mother and attends an all-girls state-run school. The father is usually not at home, having given up on his wife who has not produced a son, and now may be searching for a second wife, much to Wadjda's mother's chagrin.

Wadjda befriends a bicycle-riding boy, Abdullah, and her goal is to best him in a bicycle race. All she has to do is come up with the cash to purchase a bicycle at a local store. She finally has a chance of realizing her dream by earning the top prize in a Koran-reading contest at school.

'Wadjda' is on solid ground as a critique of Saudi society's treatment of women. Reem Abdullah as Wadjda's mother steals the show as a woman constantly placed in untenable situations. When we're first introduced to her, she is dependent on a male driver, who she depends on to drive her a long distance to her job.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Thought this was a good movie, but it wasn't what I expected. The females' conscripted lives gave me a physical sense of claustrophobia, and I wasn't left with the hopeful ending I had anticipated - more a grim sense of the impending proscription and heartbreak that adulthood would bring this plucky protagonist. Definitely worth watching - a cinematic achievement, for sure - and kudos to the director for all the firsts achieved with this work.
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Format: Blu-ray
It would be easy to take the big blockbuster released this week (in this case THOR: THE DARK WORLD) and write about it. By the same token I could write about a B movie making its way to DVD this week. But just for something different I thought I'd mention a small foreign film that's made its way to DVD that deserves some attention.

Foreign films don't attract a lot of attention in the U.S. like most films do. It usually seems that a select elite class of film viewer watches these films or collectors of foreign films. We here seem to think that if someone can't take the time to make the movie in our language it isn't worth viewing. That sort of thinking means that so many great movies are not seen by a larger group of people in this country. It also means that we think far too much of ourselves when it comes to movies too.

Not only do foreign films give us the opportunity to see some great movies it also opens the doors for us to see and understand a different culture than our own, a different world than the one we live in. There are a number of jokes out there about 'Muricans with redneck ways and an attitude that we are always the best. With the world of DVD open to everyone you now have the chance to see that there are some great movies being made around the world, even if you have to read subtitles to see them.

With that I'd like to talk about WADJDA. Wadjda is a 10 year old Saudi Arabian girl with dreams of her own. Living in Riyadh, Wadjda pushes the boundaries of a girl in her culture, choosing to listen to rock music and developing an entrepreneurial attitude by creating shoelace bracelets that support various teams and selling them to classmates. Her home life is better than most but not perfect.
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