Directed By: Nora Twomey
“Stories remain in our hearts even when all else is gone.”
And this is a beautiful story, based on a book by Deborah Ellis, about a young girl in Afghanistan who must pretend to be a boy simply in order to keep her family afloat.
The story itself is both heartbreaking and maddening. Parvana (Saara Chaudry) is in the market with her father (who used to teach) when a Taliban guy starts getting all upset about her presence and the fact that she’s looking at him funny. Her father actually used to teach this kid but he still winds up reported, arrested and imprisoned. When her mother tries to get information on him she is beaten.
With an older sister and a much younger brother Parvana tries to buy food but she’s mostly ignored…
(Maddening. People seemingly would have let her starve rather than deal with a girl.)
Faced with no other options she cuts her hair and pretends to be a boy making a friend and taking odd jobs about the city. (And as a boy of course people are more than happy to sell her food!) All the while never giving up on her father and amusing her younger brother with a story within a story.
The Breadwinner is a truly beautiful movie (really you should see it in more than stills) about strength in the face of an impossible situation. It’s also about grief. I love Parvana’s relationship with her family, the friend she makes and even that as in so much of life people are just doing what they have to do to survive.
Unfortunately so many people take advantage of that to hurt others.
The one thing I will say is I was so caught up in Parvana’s story that when it got to the crux of the story she was telling- well, it was more emotionally powerful than I had expected to be honest and I wound up rewatching those parts.
The Breadwinner is also ultimately a story about strength, grief, hope and surviving impossible circumstances. It’s a quick film to watch but it’s meaningful and well worth it.