MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 14, 2021: THE PERFECT CANDIDATE

Empathetic and authentic, Haifaa Al-Mansour’s powerful drama The Perfect Candidate offers a compelling look at what life is like for women in modern-day Saudi Arabia — and how difficult it is for even smart, brave, ambitious and highly skilled women to stand up to the country’s institutionalized gender discrimination. Even when it couldn’t be clearer that their only goal is the betterment of their community’s standard of living.

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THE PERFECT CANDIDATE – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

In 2012, Haifaa al-Mansour took a rather giant leap for womankind by becoming the first Saudi woman to direct a feature film and the first set in her homeland. Back then, Wadjda focused on a 10-year-old girl and her desire to be allowed to own and ride a bicycle. This time out, The Perfect Candidate, her latest title set in her patriarchy-oppressed homeland pivots on, of all things, something near and dear to Joe Biden’s heart – infrastructure.

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THE PERFECT CANDIDATE – Review by Jennifer Merin

The Perfect Candidate is Saudi filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour’s compelling drama about a woman physician’s plight to get the impassable dirt road leading to the local hospital paved so that patients can get to the emergency ward in time for their lives to be saved. Because her appeals to the authorities are consistently denied — or worse yet, ignored — Dr. Maryam Alsafan (Mila Al Zahrani) decides that she will campaign for election to the town council with road repair as the sole issue presented on her platform. 

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THE PERFECT CANDIDATE – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

A few years ago, Haifaa Al-Mansour made history with her Wadjda, a delightful tale of a little girl in Riyadh who really just desperately wants a bicycle. After a few detours into English-language, Western-set films, Al-Mansour returns home with The Perfect Candidate, about a young doctor who runs for her local Riyadh municipal council.

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