Four Daughters movie review – Oscar-nominated documentary

By Alexandra Heilbron on January 24, 2024 | Leave a Comment

When the Academy Award nominations were announced this week, Four Daughters received a nomination in the Documentary Feature Film category, just in time for its release in select Canadian theaters this Friday.

Four Daughters, which takes a unique approach as a documentary, is definitely deserving of this honor. We are introduced to Tunisian mother Olfa Hamrouni, who has had to be tough in a country where women’s lives mean little. She comes from a family of all girls and has four daughters of her own to raise.

When she and her two younger daughters, Eya and Tayssir, speak of her two eldest daughters, Ghofrane and Rahma, they become tearful. It’s unclear at first what has happened to the two older girls, but it appears to be something tragic.

Director Kaouther Ben Hania decided to have award-winning actress Hind Sabri plays Olfa at times when recounting the story was too difficult for the mother. This is when the documentary becomes unique, not only in swapping out Olfa at times, but in having Hind Safri discuss — while the cameras are rolling — what happened with Olfa, Eya, and Tayssir, so she can better understand how to play Olfa.

In addition, Nour Karoui and Ichrak Matar — two young actresses who look very much like the older sisters in real life — step into their roles. Eya and Tayssir are amazed by how much they ressemble their beloved sisters, not only in looks, but in their mannerisms. When acting out something that actually happened, the two younger girls sometimes get caught up in the retelling, unable to distance themselves.

Four Daughters is a moving film about the difficult situations in which Arab women find themselves, whether they’re forced into them or choose them. ~Alexandra Heilbron

5 out of 5 stars.

Four Daughters debuts in Toronto and Vancouver on Friday, January 26, 2024, then expands to more cities in the following weeks. Click here for more information, including release dates and showtimes. If you have seen Four Daughters and would like to rate/review it yourself, click here.

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