Mustang Movie Review
Don’t go in the water. Don’t go near those boys. Because if you do, your grandma will lock you up in your house, force you to wear “shit-colored” dresses and marry you off one by one. Your grandma wouldn’t do that? The grandma in Mustang, an engaging Turkish drama about modern youth trapped by tradition, will and does, and the consequences are dire.
Director and co-writer Deniz Gamze Ergüven does a fine job bringing to life the experiences of five sisters who become victim to their relatives’ restrictive beliefs. She taps into the youthful energy of his characters, expressing their frustration, curiosity and blossoming sexuality in a believable, heartfelt way. As an audience member, you feel what they’re feeling, the film more than adequately garnering outrage at the girls’ increasing isolation.
The five young female actresses do a convincing job, bringing to life the screenplay by Ergüven and Alice Winocour in an organic, entrancing way. Güneş Şensoy is especially good as the youngest sister, who in some ways serves as the lens through which the audience observes the story unfold.
Mustang is a powerful yet contained drama that avoids melodrama while telling an engaging, even gripping story. It’s sad but not depressing, vibrant yet restrained. It’s easily one of the better movies of the year.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.