Len Fearnside’s review published on Letterboxd:
Part of Lise's wonderful 30 Countries in 30 Days Challenge. Rest of my list is here: boxd.it/cBLo
Well you know you are doing something right when you make a movie that is pretty much 97% about kids and I, the guy who dislikes most everything by children, for children, or about children, find it absolutely riveting.
The story of a large group of displaced Iraqis near the time of the impending US invasion to get Saddam (round 2) and while there are adults around of course, this film is about the refugee children. They run the show and everything that happens in the film.
I need to talk about the lead female character here, Agrin. Incredible. She wore every single moment of horror she's experienced on her face. the visage of a 50 year-old tormented soul placed on the body of a kid. Completely mesmerizing every time she was on screen. There are other great characters here too, but she stole the show.
While the subject matter is quite devastating at its heart, the director manages to bring a bit of levity to the film, which is very welcome, and there is just so much heart throughout the movie that you cannot help but get caught up in the lives of these kids who are all 13 going on 30.
I bumped it down half a star for just one scene; a completely unnecessary flashback that really bothered me and took me out of the film; fortunately it was a very brief scene and maybe it will not bother me so much on a re-watch. Aside from that, a fantastic film all around.