“The Perfect Candidate”
Directed by: Haifaa al-Mansour
Starring: Mila Alzahrani, Dhay, Nourah Al Alwad, Khalid Abduirhim
Plot: A determined young doctor runs for city council after the incumbent repeatedly ignores her request to fix the muddy road leading to her clinic. Despite the community’s struggle to accept her as the town’s first female candidate, her creative and ambitious campaign becomes a symbol for a larger movement.
I was absolutely intrigued by this film. I loved how it dived into the good AND the not so good aspects of Saudi culture. I cringed how Maryam was dismissed by men AND women. I cringed when listing her platform, all the interviewer wanted to talk about was gardening and “women stuff.” Quite frankly, what Maryam went through isn’t all that different than women in the United States go through running for office. Sure, US women aren’t shunned to the point of being oppressed and being hidden by clothes. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen women candidates for office get asked “how will you juggle motherhood and have an elected position” or not being asked about more serious topics at all.
Maryam is such a STRONG character. She HUSTLED for her campaign. There are two scenes that she just COMMANDS. Kudos to the cast for some strong performances.
All in all, I enjoyed the film. There’s a great music subplot here, which really could be it’s on film. Go see this!
“The Perfect Candidate” opens Friday at The Charles Theater! Buy tickets