Willow Maclay’s review published on Letterboxd:
“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”
- Simone de Beauvoir
Simone de Beauvoir's words come to mind when viewing The Day I Became a Woman. Their philosophies are inherently linked, and while de Beauvoir's words can mean different things to different women, especially in regards to trans women, I think the root of it's radicalism is in how it analyzes socialization in a world driven by patriarchy. Meshkini's film The Day I Became a Woman is also about expectations brought upon women by simply being, and it lies in the intersection of women living in the middle east, which is a narrative that isn't as common in wider feminist film discussion.
The film is broken up into three vignettes, following three different women, and chronicling all three at varying ages. It's within this linear storytelling that you get a sense for how women in the middle east have to navigate the seas of patriarchy through different stages of life, and it begins from the onset of birth, because simply being a girl you're expected to live life in a very specific way. The beauty of this film is that these girls and women have to live within these expectations, but they strive and fight for what they want. What's even greater about this is that Meshkini never loses grasp of the complexities of Iranian Women's lives in her realist lens. It's her narratives of how these women negotiate agency through oppression that truly make the film's feminist intentions important, because the film never forgoes their struggles for an easier happy ending, but it does show how they live through these difficulties.
The rest of the review is over at Curtsies and Hand Grenades