The Perfect Candidate



Date: October 1, 2021

Time: 7:30 pm

Location: Hoke Theatre of Stocker Arts Center

Price: $7/each

2019 (Not Rated) 104 min. Saudi Arabia/subtitles
Director: Haifaa al-Mansour
Cast: Mila Al Zahrani, Dae Al-Hilali, Nora Al Awadh, Khalid Abdulraheem

When Maryam, a hardworking young doctor in a small-town clinic, is prevented from flying to Dubai for a conference without a male guardian’s approval, she seeks help from a politically connected cousin but inadvertently registers as a candidate for the municipal council. Maryam sees the elections as a way to fix the muddy road in front of her clinic, but her campaign slowly garners broader appeal. This determined young Saudi doctor’s surprise run for office in the local city elections sweeps up her family and community as they struggle to accept their town’s first female candidate.

“What I appreciated about this was the subtleties—she’s doing things in small victories.” – Claudia Puig, NPR LOS ANGELES

“Mansour gives audiences a candid, often wryly amusing glimpse of life inside the Saudi kingdom, which is so often cloaked in opacity and menace.”

“What might not be apparent yet from my description of this explicitly political, nuanced, and angry film is that THE PERFECT CANDIDATE is a lot of fun. This is that rare, miraculous thing: a political crowd-pleaser that doesn’t sand off its edges in an effort to be palatable.” – Orla Smith, THE FILM STAGE

“THE PERFECT CANDIDATE is a simple story, told without frills or even much in the way of nuance. But it’s socked through with great power, conviction and an underlying hope for a better world.” – Xan Brooks, THE GUARDIAN

“. . . the whole film is teeming with life, and the director balances the restrictions Maryam must daily face with vivid portrayals of the joys of sisterhood and the dynamics of all-female gatherings.” – Sarah Boslaugh, THE ARTS STL