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The sudden death of her husband leaves Nawal, a young Arab woman and her daughter without rights or property under Islamic law—and at the mercy of male relatives. Both her own brother and brother-in-law at first show sympathy. But soon it’s clear that any whiff of assertion—I paid for half this house; I will keep my job; That’s my daughter and I will raise her as I see fit—is met with the absolute entitlement of patriarchy. Amjad Al Rasheed’s gripping, taut debut immerses us in the tangled impossibilities for a woman who simply wants to keep her home and protect her daughter, without a husband or male heir to legitimize her. Her acts of resistance (including necessary deception) enmesh multiple players in a complex web of risk and hope—reminiscent of Asghar Farhadi’s masterpiece A SEPARATION—as we root and fear for her at every turn. The first film from Jordan ever selected for the Cannes Film Festival.



“Terrifically tense. Exciting, galvanizing. A gripping social drama about systemic oppression that morphs into a masterful thriller. Al Rasheed’s precision-tooled movie is a social-realist drama rendered as an escape thriller where the labyrinth that Nawal must navigate is the Jordanian social order itself, a massive bureaucratic, patriarchal maze designed to ensure that any woman trying to evade its clutches will batter herself to exhaustion sooner or later against one of its deviously placed dead ends”
– Jessica Kiang, Variety

“With last year’s female-led uprisings against the ‘morality police’ in Iran, and the slowly growing liberalization of gender roles in Saudi Arabia, a new global focus on and solidarity towards women’s rights in Arab countries are emerging. This is the precise context that Amjad Al Rasheed’s first feature, INSHALLAH A BOY will be received… The film’s screenplay is appropriately co-written by two female writers, Rula Nasser and Delphine Agut…a top-to-bottom accounting of a repressive society laden with class antagonism.”
– David Katz, Cineuropa

CRITIC’S PICK. “[A] tense and accomplished directorial debut…Hawa, a Palestinian actress, is commanding as a woman whose future and faith are buffeted by narrowing options… The first Jordanian film to compete at Cannes, INSHALLAH, from its very title, promises to delve into a patriarchal system that values men over women. But the filmmaker — and his fellow writers, Rula Nasser and Delphine Agut — also tussles with economic tensions that have implications beyond gender.”
– Lisa Kennedy, The New York Times

“The performances — particularly that of Palestinian actress Mouna Hawa — outstanding as a woman torn between her sense of duty and seething fury — [are] delivered with quiet force… As the story of Nawal’s struggles piles twist on turn, however, [the film] gathers the momentum of a thriller… Al Rasheed eviscerates the misogyny he sees around him, inscribed in tradition and in the law, so relentlessly that it is surprising — and heartening  to see it selected as the Jordanian entry for the Oscars.”
– Stephanie Bunbury, Deadline

“A compelling drama about the limits and liberations of faith…Palestinian actress Hawa shines as Nawal…the way that Hawa is able to articulate Nawal’s moment of personal crisis, in the furtive look she gives her sister-in-law or the exasperation she reserves for her own brother, makes for a commendable performance.”
– Aparita Bhandari, Paste

“A GREAT FILM. Jordanian Amjad Al Rasheed proves a consummate filmmaker with INSHALLAH A BOY… The plot accrues complexities with a logic that is as tense as it is inexorable. The screenplay by Mr. Al Rasheed, written in collaboration with Rula Nasser and Delphine Agut, is a model of understatement, of point-and-counterpoint set out with clarity and concision.”
– Mario Naves, New York Sun

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