Jordan’s Oscar entry, “Inshallah A Boy,” is a well-crafted and touching film

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The film “Inshallah A Boy,” submitted by Jordan for consideration at the upcoming Oscars, delves into the impact of rigid patriarchal norms on women’s lives. Directed by Amjad Al-Rasheed, who co-wrote the screenplay with Delphine Agut and Rula Nasser, the story is set in 2019 Jordan and revolves around Nawal, a woman in her 30s portrayed by Mouna Hawa. When Nawal’s husband passes away, leaving her and their daughter Nora (played by Seleena Rababah), she is confronted with a daunting reality. The situation is further complicated by the fact that she doesn’t have a son, making her vulnerable to the strict societal and legal norms that favor male heirs.

Nawal finds herself in a difficult position, worrying about her job, her home, and even the custody of her daughter, which might be awarded to her husband’s brother as per inheritance laws. Her husband’s brother is seen as responsible before God and the public for taking care of the wife and her children, putting Nawal in a precarious situation. The film explores whether her husband inadvertently failed to include her name on the lease of their house. Despite the odds stacked against her, Nawal refuses to give in and embarks on a journey to challenge a system that is inherently biased against women.

The movie’s narrative takes a suspenseful and claustrophobic turn, almost resembling a thriller, as it addresses real-world issues with a sense of urgency and terror. However, it also portrays moments of empowerment and solidarity among women facing similar challenges.

Mouna Hawa delivers a standout performance as Nawal, portraying a character who rises above despair and transforms the film into a story of resilience. Notably, the film also features two compelling antagonists, with Nawal’s brother, Ahmad (played by Mohammad Al Jizawi), embodying a complex character. While he is a part of her family, he acts as a hidden antagonist, constantly pressuring Nawal for money owed by her husband and asserting his legal rights over her property.

“Inshallah A Boy” addresses a wide range of themes and is skillfully written. It has garnered attention for its technical excellence and made an impact at the Cannes Film Festival. The film sheds light on the challenges faced by women in patriarchal societies and their unwavering determination to overcome adversity.

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