The Perfect Candidate review – a Saudi woman’s political awakening | Drama films

A Saudi female doctor runs for local government, causing consternation in a community still wrestling with the idea of female emancipation, in Haifaa Al-Mansour’s second Saudi-set feature, following her debut, Wadjda. Enraged that the councillor refuses to fix the road outside her hospital, Maryam (Mila Al Zahrani) sets out on the campaign trail armed with snacks, determination and a googled checklist of how to win an election.

Like Maryam’s approach to local politics, the film is well-meaning but occasionally naive. There are a few too many rote scenes in which an initially faltering Maryam finds her voice and earns respect. However, it’s impossible not to feel a swell of satisfaction when Maryam stomps into a meeting of dreadful Saudi men and douses them in shrivelling disdain. And the music – as a musician, Maryam’s father is almost as scandalous as his daughter – is stirring and poignant.

Released through Curzon Home Cinema, BFI Player, modernfilms.com

Source: The Guardian

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