Movies: The Breadwinner, Wonder Wheel, The Other Side of Hope

Happy Holidays to all!

Hollywood’s Foreign Press released their nominations for the upcoming Golden Globes this morning.

Hollywood’s final releases for this year’s Oscar consideration must be released on or before Christmas Day in both New York and Los Angeles.

In the meantime, we are doing our best to find and see the handful of films being released here and there.  To be honest, it is getting to be slim pickings.  Here are a few we found this week.

The Breadwinner

This animated film by Irish Director, Nora Twomey, tells the story of an 11 year old girl, Parvana, who lives in Afghanistan with her small family under Taliban rule.  Her elderly father is arrested and imprisoned leaving no one to tend to the family’s needs.  Pervana cuts her hair, poses as a boy and works for meager wages to earn enough money to bribe a prison guard for the release of her father.  Pretty serious stuff for an animated film.

This film is based on the 2000 novel by Deborah Ellis. The cast includes the voice of Canadian actress Saara Chaudry as Parvana.  Laara Sadiq as the voice of Fattema.  Shaista Latif as Soraya and Soma Chhaya as Shauzia.

It is an inspiring and touching story about life under the Taliban, women’s role in that society and the power of hope and female empowerment.

The movie is rated PG-13 for thematic material and some violent images.  The genre is listed as Animation, Drama, Kids and Family.  Run time is 93 minutes.


Wonder Wheel

This latest film by Writer and Director Woody Allen is set in the Coney Island amusement park of the 1950’s.  It is a story about a lifeguard, a former actress, her husband, his estranged daughter and the young son who has more than a few character flaws.

The actors include (in the same order): Justin Timberlake, Kate Winslet, Jim Belushi, Juno Temple and the child actor Jack Gore.  The performances are quite good.  The problem is the characters aren’t very likable and the story line is far from comfortable or inspiring.

It is surprisingly rated PG-13 for thematic content including some sexuality, language and obsessive smoking.  The genre is noted as a drama with a run time of 1 hour, 41 minutes.  All in all… just ho hum.


The Other Side of Hope

Here is a fascinating and unique look at immigration.  In this deadpan approach from Finnish Director Aki Kaurismaki who “peels the onion” with his  comedy/drama look at the refugee crisis facing many European countries, and in this film Finland.

The film delivers a deadpan tone that takes audiences a little getting used to.  Adaptable viewers will catch on to this theme;  i.e. skinheads that don’t know the difference between Arab and Jew.  The underlying commentary on bigotry is subtle yet effective.

This film is in limited release and is not rated.  The genre is reported as Art House & International, Comedy, Drama.  The cast is primarily from Kaurismaki’s pool of “reliable stock” of Finnish actors.

This is a unique and quirky film that requires a bit of patience and thought.  The more we thought about this movie, the more we recognized the nuances.  In English, Finnish, Arabic and Swedish with English subtitles.


One thought on “Movies: The Breadwinner, Wonder Wheel, The Other Side of Hope”

  1. Hi Jim and John!
    I was most interested in the film ‘The Breadwinner’. In Canada, many classrooms use this particular book as a teaching tool. Fabulous book! So glad that you rated high!
    Take care! Denise 💋💋

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