MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +1

Content: -1

Not for the squeamish, this drama is an intense portrayal of hardships endured by Afghans under the austere occupation of the Taliban. A 12-year-old girl (Marina Golbahari) is disguised as a boy and nicknamed Osama by her widowed mother (Zubeydeh Sahar) who, like all women, is barred from working. Desperate to feed the family of three women, her mother sends Osama to work for a local merchant. Soon she is gathered up with all of the boys in the village to attend school, where for hours the students recite from the Koran. Her first exposure to school and the mosque makes Osamas fearful behavior a target of ridicule and torment by the other boys. Osamas deception is revealed in a humiliating incident that leads to her arrest. Winner of the Golden Globe for best foreign film, Osama can be appreciated for its simplicity and bleak honesty, but dont expect a fairy-tale ending.

The rigid, fanatical beliefs of the Taliban make no allowances for compassion. If a widow and her family are starving to death, the rules prevent her from earning any kind of support. Women who protest are hosed down with high-pressure hoses and, if not drowned, are jailed. Trials are far from fair, and one judge doles out punishments to rule breakers. A journalist faces a firing squad, and a woman who stole food is stoned to death in a pit. Osamas life is spared, but her fate is worse: She is given to a disgusting old man for his pleasure. While there are no graphic displays of these consequences, the severity and horror is easily imagined. Blood streaming down Osamas legs tells her schoolmates and the authorities what they already suspected. Such incidents are not gratuitous and are needed to tell the story. Still, Osama is only appropriate for mature audiences. The negative acceptability rating is for adult themes, repetitive use of a crude term and graphic dialog on personal hygiene.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
United Artists

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (8) times moderate (bastard)

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: Few times mild (implied murders when man stands in front of firing squad and when woman is about to be stoned); moderate (women subjected to high-pressure water hoses)

Sex: None

Nudity: Few times mild (man in loincloth)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times mild (pubescent boys are given explicit instructions for personal hygiene); moderate (evidence of girls period)

Drugs: None

Other: Appropriate use of Gods name with wrath of God and God is great, Taliban lacks compassion and respect for human life

Running Time: 82 minutes
Intended Audience: 16 and older

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