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I'm Taraneh, 15

  • Film

Time Out says

BABY LOVE Alidousti hones her maternal instinct.

Set in modern-day Tehran, Rassul Sadr-Ameli's meticulously paced coming-of-age drama is a sterling example of the humanistic, protofeminist fables Iranian filmmakers have been churning out since the 1990s, right under the noses of Islamic censors. With her widower dad (Mahjoub) in prison and her ailing grandmother at home, model student Taraneh (Alidousti) works in a photo shop to earn money. After a disastrous four-month engagement to Amir (Milad Sadr-Ameli), a young carpet-store manager more interested in partying than pursuing his studies, Taraneh learns she's pregnant. Evicted from her house, unable to keep up at school and too embarrassed to confide in her adoring father, the teen struggles to survive on her own terms, despite the ostracization she will face as a single mother.

Though it might lack the polemical bite of Jafar Panahi's The Circle or the bewitching imagery of Samira Makhmalbaf's The Apple, Sadr-Ameli's multilayered, naturalistic film offers a damning commentary on the status of women in Iranian society, dealing openly with taboo subjects like female sexuality and abortion, and slyly criticizing patriarchal social customs (e.g., a child is illegitimate unless it has the father's surname). Built around the marvelously assured performance of cherubic newcomer Alidousti, who projects a mix of girlish navet and defiant self-sufficiency with unaffected ease, this winsome, tightly crafted Persian gem celebrates the spirit of individual rebellion without once succumbing to despair. (Opens Fri; Quad.)
—Damon Smith

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