(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)
(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)
SW SCORE: 42
4 out of 5 🐙
The Iranian revolution was in 1979. The Nicaraguan revolution was in 1979. The former ushered in a theocracy and the other brought about a new communist country. I used to have feelings about the latter and the former. But now, I just see them as examples of idealism corrupted. The reason I mention the latter is because I was born in Nicaragua in 1974. Yes, I am old. Stop rubbing it in. I brought it up? Fine, whatever.
In 1979, my family, like many other Nicaraguans and Iranians, fled to the United States. Marjane Satrapi’s family, the writer and protagonist of her graphic novel that examines her childhood and upbringing during the Iranian revolution, did not flee. The differences between Marjane and I are many, but that is the salient one. I’ve always wondered what it would have been like to stay after my homeland’s society was so drastically changed.
Now I have an answer. It’s not my answer, but it’s a wonderful one.
Reading Satrapi’s memoir gave me some sublimely crafted insight on what would be like. She does a wonderful job of chronicling the impressions of a young kid who transitions to adulthood while her country transitions into a place she no longer recognizes. I never thought such an introspective graphic novel would make the big screen, but I am very happy I was wrong.
The adaptation is a faithful vision of the graphic novel. The animation matches the trade’s simple but emotive art. The voice work is spare and sincere. Satrapi’s stories and recollections are so perceptive and unique to her circumstances, but they can also be appreciated by the millions of others who have lived through cultural upheaval. The details are hers but the emotions are universal. This isn’t a traditional narrative, so don’t expect that style. But it’s a lovely depiction of one life in a historical maelstrom.
(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.
(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)
(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so
(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)