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TIFF 2019 Review: The Perfect Candidate

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A female Saudi doctor ends up campaigning to be elected to the local council in an effort to get a road built to her small-town hospital.

Surrounded by chauvinistic doctors and patients, Maryam goes about providing medical care at a facility that seriously needs a road constructed.  In an effort to resolve the issue of an expired travel permit that is preventing her from attending a conference that may lead to a big city job, Maryam finds herself inadvertently running a political campaign to become a member of the local council.  While this is going on her musician father is attempting to get chosen for the national band.

For her feature debut performance, Mila Alzahrani convincingly portrays a resourceful and determined young woman who will not have her voice silenced.  The rest of the cast are also believable in their roles.  Filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour has effectively combined a family drama with social commentary.  There are no explosions or acts of violence but plenty of indifference and intolerance.  The conclusion is believable and hints at political interference.  Change can only occur when people are prepared to take a stand and be persistent despite the amounting resistance.

Check out all of our TIFF coverage

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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