MOVIE REVIEW: Mustang

Story of 5 Sisters in Turkey who have their life turned on its head when their family thinks that they are getting out of control.  What happens next is an all too common story, a drama based on the reality of a lot of young girls in Turkey.

I stopped watching the news a few years ago, too much depressing news, too much anger in the world, but the stories that I kept seeing were about these so-called Honour Suicides and stories of how families in parts of the world that I’ve visited and loved being in were treating young female children.  Mustang takes these stories and brings them to the front and centre of your attention in a film that I urge you strongly to see.

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The five girls who have lost their parents live with their Grandmother and their Uncle.  When they are finishing school for the summer they go to the beach and play with their friends.  They are about 17 down to 11 in age range.  Someone tells the Grandmother that they are behaving in a way that girls should not behave and their lives change drastically.  First they are kept inside, than they are trained to be wives and only wives, then bars on the windows, and when this fails they are treated like meat at a market and shown around to possible Husbands.  One sister wants nothing more than to marry her boyfriend, another is sent off to marry a man that she has never met before, and the remaining three are just waiting to be told that they are going to be married off.

I don’t watch trailers and for the most part try not to know too much about a film before going to the press screening, I want to always feel that sense of wonder at the cinema, it’s my Fortress of Solitude, and want to be entertained.  But there were one or two people giving this film some buzz or hype, which you also try to avoid, so going in I didn’t know what to expect.  I have to say that even taking out the social commentary that is so well handled in the film about the tradition in Turkey of treating women as second class citizens this is an impressive film.  The girls playing the five siblings are all amazing young actresses giving natural and varying performances that show maturity beyond their years.  They are just girls that want to enjoy the life that they have.

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The film doesn’t drag at all, even in the most quiet moments there is so much to look at and feel, also the emotional spectrum that we’re given ranges from moments of hilarity to moments of shocking tragedy.  This might sound easy to do but let me tell you that with the amount of movies that I’ve seen trying to do what Mustang does with ease it’s no easy task.

Mustang is a much watch film for everyone, it’s a drama but the messages and tones in the film are important.  The performances are just outstanding when you look at the age of the actors involved, while the story may not have the action or budget of the rest of the movies coming out this summer I think it’s just stunning to watch.  You’ll laugh and cry with the siblings, you’ll hate the traditions and the system that allows this to happen, and you should come away from the film feeling that every young girl should see this film to know that their sisters all over the world don’t have the same rights as they do.  I don’t want to stand on a soapbox and don’t want to preach, but this is an important film that teens all over the world should see and understand.

Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Writers: Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Alice Winocour
Stars: Günes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu

For a full list of cast go HERE

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