Thorkell August Ottarsson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Day 10. 32nd Film, 28th Country: Iran.
of the "May: 30 Days, 30 Countries" Challenge.
This film is much more complex that you might think. To start with, it is about women in Iran and how does one criticise the oppression of women in Iran without having your film banned? (Well his films are banned today and he is in home prison and banned from making films because of his message and fight for human rights.)
1) You cast a small girl in the lead.
2) You hide the political message in the dialog of the people on the street, cars and buses.
3) You film it as a straight simple story but let it be a clever symbolism for what you really want to say.
The girl is left alone. No one to pick her up. Her arm is broken (symbolism) and is without a status (another one). She can't travel without the assistance of others (yes another one) and so on and so on. There is a very nice scene when the girl is in the back of the bus with the women and we see her future. The women are all of different age and they all have difficulties with the men in their life. They are all like slaves. And this is what is waiting for this little girl, step by step.
In the middle of the film the girl does not want to play in the film anymore and the director (Jafar Panahi) decides to film her without her knowing it. She is forced to play a role even if she does not want it anymore. If that is not symbolic then I don't know what is!
The end is though uplifting. The girl manages to get away from the film crew and gives a hint of what Iran has to do, revolt! That's the only answer!