Persepolis

Movie review by Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Persepolis Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 15+

Animated coming-of-age tale is poignant, mature.

PG-13 2007 120 minutes

Parents say

age 14+

Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 25 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Great if you need a brief Iran history lesson and a lot of complex narrative

This film leaves an impression. I did not read the graphic novels, so I cannot speak to the film's alignment with it's source material however I found the animation to offer some levity in a story rife with complexity, death, sadness, and loneliness. The film feels a bit yay the West! which I do not think was Satrapi's intention and the financial situation of Satrapi's family is never overly revealed. How they were able to support her financially and through access with a visa to be able to leave Iran and spend so much time abroad is never discussed. In many ways it feels like the audience is the West with its brief Iran history lesson for dummies. Would love to see more examples of complex stories like this.
age 13+

Characteristics

Persepolis was fascinating to watch, analyze, and enjoy. The first time watching was more about understanding, while the second was exploring the features of the film. The movie’s main character, Marjane Satrapi, was relatable. Although she was relatable, there were aspects that I liked learning about her. The characteristics that I found myself identifying with were her stubbornness, determination, and devotion to her family. One of the things that I could not personally relate to was living in an era and place where there was tyrannical rain over a country. I was also interested in her interpersonal life and the connections that she had outside her family. Marjan lived during the Iranian Revolution with her family, that included her parents and her grandmother. The beginning of the movie, it showed Marjan on the plane, dissociating into a situation of her as a young child. Throughout the film, it showed her discussing with God about the troubles that happened to her family, like, the imprisonment of her uncle that led to his death. The film did an excellent job showing the Tyrannical system of Shah that Iran was under and displaying how it affected its' people, specifically, individuals like Marjane and her family. Her family depicted the hardships that could happen under such pressure and the community around them. Those hardships included but were not limited to death, loss of a home, food insecurity, and mental and physical strain. Not only was her family given false hope, but all the families were that lusted for freedom under such “dictatorship.” The conditions continued to worsen under Shah’s control, and families were being hurt and stripped of their confidence in their country. In the film it is evident that she was distressed in certain situations, even in her home. For example, when she’s sent to Vienne, she felt lost without her family and is home-sick because no one understands her. The animations and the realistic approaches the film used for the movie was unfamiliar personally but enjoyable. They realistically showed from the history books of the Tyrannical reign of Iran from the 1970s to the 1990s. The movie brought to life what the history books recorded from the events featured in Marjan’s family and community. I would not usually watch an animated movie, but the story and historical background greatly appealed me. Also, the animation used what live-action movies do, which helped bring the story together and made the experience of watching it a positive one. They used different sceneries for different parts of the film and even letting the cartoon characters display facial expressions and movements to go along with the narration among the characters. With the realistic display of Marjane, her family, and her emotions I observed the simplicity of the film while also observing complexity of the work that the movie crew did to create the ties of the story line. In doing so, they were able to show the raw emotions of every character and scenario that happened. It was simple in the sense of getting the overall mood of the film and what could be perceived of the sum of all the conflict. The complexity of the film was trying to connect relationships and the emotions that were meant to be seen. Persepolis was pleasurable to watch and analyze. This experience has led me to discover that animated movies can be about real-life issues that have and are happening in our world! I found out that animation can bring history to life, but also given the chance put myself in another person’s shoes. Many upper-class and middle-class families would never fear for their lives of something so dangerous controlling their lives. Marjan and her family fought for their lives to be free and to seek change in their country. Suppose individuals could put themselves in their shoes; perhaps, in that case, we could see the differences and be thankful for the protection and safety we have in our country. Many people in America take what they love for granted, unlike the situations that happened in the film where families in Iran were under constant stress to keep their families and homes safe from foreign control and torture. Again, the film was fascinating to watch and analyze because of the differences and similarities.

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