Parents' Guide to

Afghan Dreamers

By John Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Inspiring docu shows power of education, hope; violence.

Movie NR 2023 72 minutes
Afghan Dreamers movie poster: girls work together on project

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

This documentary elegantly shows these Afghan girls' journey into the world of global robotics competition, but more is made of what they represent than the actual competitions they compete in. In Afghan Dreamers, the importance and benefits of education and women's rights are front, center, and clear, and the girls on the robotics team give great voice to how important their work is. Naturally confident and courageous while facing an incredibly adult danger, the girls learn, study, practice, and compete in STEM-based robotics work and quickly become semi-famous for doing so. But the more recognized they become, the more danger they face leaving for school each day. After one particular suicide bombing kills one of the girl's fathers, they are blamed for the blast by neighbors who believe that if they hadn't been so bold to seek an education and compete in robotics, the bombing wouldn't have happened. Later, when the Taliban seizes power, they demand that the girls be killed because of their actions.

Also facing discrimination from the U.S. in 2017, when the U.S. State Department twice refused their visa applications with no explanation (only relenting when 32 U.S. Congress members demanded they be accepted) and discrimination from their own nation (Some people in Afghanistan still don't think girls should be able to go to school or work), the girls show remarkable courage and integrity throughout. They professionally and inspiringly speak to many news outlets, audiences, and younger Afghan girls who look up to them. Unfortunately, after the Taliban took over the Afghanistan government in the fall of 2021, they have since reimplemented many policies that don't allow much freedom for women or girls (like letting them get an education or work, let alone a STEM education or leave their homes without a man accompanying them). This fact makes the ending of this docu inevitably sad in that only in this brief period between 2017 and 2020 did these girls enjoy the freedom to learn and go to school in their own country, compete in robotics competitions around the world, and model for younger Afghan girls the importance and benefits of education and the freedom to get an education. When younger Afghan girls talk to the robotics team, they tell them they want to be doctors or teachers, but it's currently hard to imagine this happening, given the current state of things for women in Afghanistan.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate