Who's in It:
The voices of Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux
The Basics: Hey, Disney Princesses, move it on over. This French animated features a smart, young, headstrong girl who never finds a prince but winds up finding her way through life anyway. Marjane (Mastroianni) is a child in Iran at the time of the Islamic Revolution. When she's a teenager, her parents send her away to Austria for an education, where she'll be allowed to ask questions, listen to metal and experience a life without veils and oppression. But it's not long before she realizes she doesn't really feel at home either in her own country or in the West.
What's the Deal? Hardcore animation fans won't need their arms twisted to hunt down this moving, intimate, complex, visually beautiful black-and-white story. Fence-sitters, though and you know who you are owe it to themselves to get over whatever prejudice they have about animated features being simple or for children and SEE THIS INCREDIBLY COOL MOVIE. It's unlike anything else out this year, it features a main character who's just as often behaving unpleasantly as she is experiencing any kind of personal triumph, and even if you know nothing about the cultural context it comes from, you'll get it. It might even re-open your eyes to the possibilities of "cartoons."
Based On: Two graphic novels/memoirs by Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood and Perseopolis 2: The Story of a Return. And though it's a condensation of the two, it doesn't suffer from the "high-drama highlights" problem that so many book-to-screen adaptations fall victim to.
Best Part: The easy answer is the cool sequence that manages, hilariously, to totally redeem the crappy Survivor song "Eye of The Tiger." But, as always, my favorite moments are the sad ones, like when Marjane is soundly scolded by her grandmother for lacking personal integrity after she uses her feminine cultural and legal disadvantage to have a man arrested.
Who Should See It: Well, besides everyone, it really ought to be seen by young teenage girls everywhere. And then they should go out and start buying Iron Maiden records.