Persepolis is a very interesting story, that keeps your attention even if you aren’t sure why. It isn’t a funny movie, although does have some decent laughs, it isn’t an action movie but does have moments that wouldn’t be amiss in that type of movie and isn’t a romance – although love plays a part. It’s just a good, true story.
The story of Marjane and her upbringing in a changing Iran, as it goes through revolution and huge political upheaval, is nothing less than hugely engaging. It’s so interesting because her story is “ordinary.” She isn’t a political leader or a violent activist. She isn’t the leader of a revolution or a prisoner, locked up for crimes she didn’t commit. She is a normal woman, living in a country that is changing, through violence and restrictive laws that directly affect her.
In some cases, this makes the story more interesting. Marjane’s story demonstrates the life woman were forced to live in an oppressive Iran and how strict religious rules changed their lives. From trying to have some sort of freedom, starting relationships or just freeing herself from covering her hair, Marjane’s story is a typical look at life at that time.
It’s not just about the experience in that country though. Marjane’s story follows her to different countries, varying experiences with work, love and life generally but never really straying too far from the roots that shaped her. Parts of the story are just a woman coming of age but whenever the tale retreats back to Iran, it becomes much more engaging.
The presentation of the film helps its appeal too. It is adapted from a graphic novel and the decision to keep it as a black and white, animated movie is a fantastic one. There are moments that translate much better when animated, which have a bigger impact when you can show (or not necessarily show) horrors in such a way that wouldn’t be possible in a live action movie.
It also means we get to keep some of the naivety and innocence of the story. It’s not a huge, blockbuster movie with an action-packed tale and the animated nature of it demonstrates a much simpler life that is no less extraordinary. An engaging and focused way of presenting an ordinary woman’s tale.
Overall, Persepolis is an interesting, engaging and beautifully presented story. Its magic is in it’s ordinary nature, not over-exaggerating any elements and presenting simply what it was like to be part of a country ravaged by revolution and political change. Aspects of the true story lose its way slightly but when Iran is it’s focus, you won’t be able to look away.
Rating – 4
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