#REVIEW: “THE BREADWINNER”
Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
Many Moviegoers tend to dismiss animation as a medium for children; filled with cartoon animals, celebrity voices, and saccharine endings. Based on the Children’s Novel by Canadian Author Deborah Ellis, Nora Twomey’s The Breadwinner she dashes all these preconceived notions and delivers a stellar feature about a little girl forced to grow up too fast.
When the Taliban throw her father in jail, 12-year-old Parvana is forced to cut her hair and disguise herself as a boy to earn money for her family. One day in the marketplace, Parvana meets up with an old classmate, Shauzia, who is also masquerading as a boy. The two do odd jobs around Kabul earning money for their futures: Parvana to get her father out of prison, and Shauzia so she can escape the prison of her family.
In spite of strict Taliban enforced laws, Parvana’s father insisted on educating his daughter and when the schools were closed he did this by telling passing along the oral traditions of his childhood reminding her, “Everything changes, Parvana. The stories remind us of that.” She continues that tradition by distracting her family from their troubles by telling them the story of a brave warrior named Idrees and his quest to save his village by defeating the Elephant King.
With The Breadwinner, Cartoon Saloon continues their string of beautiful, hand-drawn Animated Features. The Irish animation Studio’s distinct style works best when Parvana is recounting her story but is highlighted throughout the girls’ adventures. In one particularly powerful scene, the distinctly brown palette of the dessert gives way to a cemetery of abandoned tanks the girls use as a temporary resting place.
There are no marquee stars in the voice cast making the Producer Angelina Jolie the most bankable name associated with the Movie. The Breadwinner should not be dismissed for this as the audience’s unfamiliarity allows them to hear the characters rather than the voices behind them.
The international flavor of the Movie is brought home to Canada through its score. Jeff and Mychael Danna (The Good Dinosaur) stirring music serves the story without seeking to overpower it.
A beautiful tale about the hidden strengths inside all of us, The Breadwinner combines animation and great storytelling in a way that is rarely seen nowadays. While there may be no talking toys in The Breadwinner, there is a lot of heart.
Elevation Pictures will open The Breadwinner on Friday, November 24, 2017.