“The Breadwinner” stars Saara Chaudry, Soma Bhatia, Noorin Gulamgaus, Kane Mahon, Laara Sadiq, Ali Badshah, and Shaista Latif. Released on November 17, 2017, the film is about a girl who disguises herself as a boy in order to support her family and rescue her father.
The film is directed by Nora Twomey, who co-directed The Secret of Kells with Tomm Moore, and it is based on the children’s novel of the same name by Deborah Ellis. Since its inception in 2008, GKIDS has been distributing well-crafted animated films that inspire movie-goers and critics alike. Not only that, but its films have also received numerous Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature, including the one that I’ll be looking at today. I have little to no experience with the films that are originally distributed by GKIDS, especially The Secret of Kells, but when I heard that this film is playing at my cinema, I figured that I would start that experience by checking this one out first before I get to the other new releases from last weekend. Long story short, I was extremely impressed at how it turned out.
One of the things you should know about this film is that the story takes place in Afghanistan during the time where the country is being controlled by the Talibans. In the style of 2D animation, the film displays the lifestyle of the residents who are trying to survive under the Talibans’ rule, most notably Parvana, the main character, and her family. The film also includes a story-within-a-story that provides a different style of 2D animation and serves as a purpose to the film’s central plot. For an animated film like this, it can be a bit disturbing for the very young, but aside from that, it is a beautiful and invigorating tale about hope and bravery over evil and cruelty. It’s more than just about a girl dressing up as a boy, it’s about her single act of courage that is able to make a difference in the world filled with violence and fear, which is something that’s very important for people to learn. The filmmakers did an impressive job at recreating the real-life setting of Afghanistan and its lifestyle without going overboard with its depictions of violence while also keeping the story simple and thought-provoking for the older crowd. The animation was gorgeously filled with imagination and depth from its representation of Afghanistan to the story-within-a-story segments that felt like a pop-up storybook coming to life before my very own eyes. Of course, there were plenty of films with CGI animation that offer the same quality as 2D animation, but the way this film was handled in the style of the latter is something that truly brings out the spark in its soul in terms of its vibrant colors. The film’s animation proves that we need more 2D animated films like this in the near future.
Overall, with its superb storytelling and beautiful visuals, “The Breadwinner” is animation art at its finest. It’s the type of animated film that deals with mature themes, but also enchants with its eye-opening sceneries. Out of all of the animated films I’ve seen that are nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 2017 Oscars, I would say that this is my second-favorite, with my top film still being Coco. If you’re a fan of animation or the other animated works from GKIDS, I would highly recommend this one. Definitely another huge win for traditional animation.