Offside Movie Poster Image




Iranian dramedy scores with gender equity issues.
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Girls break the law to attend a soccer game, then bond when they're detained; soldiers reveal their vulnerabilities and uncertainties.


Rowdy male fans cause a bus driver to pull over; girls fear being discovered by security guards; once found out, the girls are penned up (one cries); boys begin a fight in the bathroom, pushing and punching; a boy tells story about his father and others hitting him when he was younger (he shows the scar on his head); girl tells the sad story of a male friend killed during a stampede at another match; firecrackers go off during post-match celebration.


Ongoing discussions over gender inequality in Iran; girls disguise themselves as boys to get into a soccer match; one girl has to use a men's public bathroom while watched over by a guard.


Mild profanity (all in subtitles) includes "bastard," "suck," "s--thead," "s--t," "bitch," and "hell." Other phrases include "I'll piss all over myself."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Soldier and young detainees smoke cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Iranian dramedy explores the gender inequalities that affect that country's young soccer fans. It moves slowly and comes with subtitles, so younger viewers might be bored. But the story -- girls disguise themselves as boys to enter the stadium, where no women are allowed -- might appeal to teens. When they're discovered, the girls are penned up until a bus arrives to take them to jail. There are discussions of political and legal oppression of women, as well as past demonstrations against the state. Characters (soldiers, a teenage girl and a young boy) smoke cigarettes.

What's the story?

A father searches anxiously for his daughter among the buses and cars stopped in traffic en route to Tehran's Azadi Stadium. It's 2006, and, like most Iranians, the girl (Sima Mobarak-Shahi) wants more than anything to see her team play in the World Cup qualifying match against Bahrain. But because she's a girl, she's denied entrance to the stadium by law. So she's sneaking in dressed as a boy, hiding from her father, the police, and the boys on her bus. Nervous about her deception, she is discovered at the front gate of the stadium and then marched to a holding pen located just outside the playing field. Here she and the other female detainees -- along with their guards -- can listen to the match. The girls find that they have a special camaraderie based on a shared sense of outrage at how they're treated (they're not allowed inside, they're told, because they're not allowed to hear men using rowdy language). They're duly impressed when one girl (Mahnaz Zabihi) arrives at the pen in handcuffs -- she was discovered in a captain's box inside the arena, having been nervy enough to steal and wear an officer's uniform. Most of the others wear baggy pants, caps, and Iranian flag-colored face paint to disguise themselves as the very (male) figures who would keep them out.

Is it any good?


Like Jafar Panahi's other films, OFFSIDE creates a natural-seeming rhythm, so viewers are soon immersed in a number of experiences. The movie follows a series of characters, most unnamed and all connected by events, desires, and circumstances.

What's most striking about this wonderful film is its celebration of the girls' resilience in the face of such daunting obstacles. Energetic, generous, and full of idealism, they imagine themselves in another world, where they can participate fully in all aspects of their culture, feeling deep national pride (in their soccer team, anyway) even as the nation restrains them. Sharing sadness and joy during a few short hours, the girls -- and a misfit boy arrested for carrying firecrackers -- find hope in each other.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about oppression and inequality. How are women's rights different in Iran than they are in the United States? Where did the restrictions on Iran's women come from? How does the movie show the effects of these restrictions on the younger generation? Is it inevitable that teenagers, no matter where they're from, will resist limits on what they can do and say? How does the movie represent a kind of "on the ground" view of how oppression affects ordinary people? Families can also talk about how sports can build community, even in stressful circumstances. Can you think of other movies that have addressed that idea?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 23, 2007
DVD/Streaming release date:August 28, 2007
Cast:Mahnaz Zabihi, Safar Samandar, Sima Mobarak Shahi
Director:Jafar Panahi
Studio:Sony Pictures Classics
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Character strengths:Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:language throughout, and some thematic elements.

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Adult Written byJael April 9, 2008
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008


I went to see this wonderful movie with a friend, who's also almost 12, and her little sister, who's almost 8. It's now one of my new favorite movies. It's not filmed by a genius like Peter Jackson or anything, but the camerawork is quite good. At the beginning, the actors were so good that I thought it was a documentary - I would have never known that this was actual acting, it looked so real. The story is great and there are some hilarious moments, although younger kids might not get them (a soldier calls his girlfriend, the girlfriend hears a woman's voice and thinks he's cheating on her). It's well done and makes you think. My only complaint is the subtitles - I'm a really fast reader, but sometimes you miss stuff. There is some language in this, but it's used completely in context and makes sense. It's not anything that kids over 9 (or kids who have older siblings and were taught curse words) wouldn't have seen or heard, so that's all good. I'd say it's good for 8 and up, and it wouldn't hurt if smaller kids saw it, although they probably wouldn't be able to read the subtitles fast enough.
Parent Written byJackKnauf January 14, 2013

Not made for the USA

This movie downright sucks. It is suppose to be considered a comedy but I did not see anything funny about it. Actually it is the stupidest movies I have ever seen and if you want to shoe it in America, film it in English so I do not have to read every word that is spoken at the bottom of the screen. As for the cast, I thought the actors did an excellent job but other than that, it is a two thumbs down movie and children should not be subjected to such a culture where women are no body and men are violent. Definitely a two thumbs down movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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