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Sunday 12 April 2020

Perfect Candidate

On Sunday we watch the film ‘Perfect Candidate’ on the Modern Films website with a commission going to Broadway Cinema. It was a pain to stream though but we finally got it working from my Macbook to our Roku box.

Maryam (Mila al-Zahrani) is a young doctor in a Saudi Arabian hospital. We see her struggling to treat a man who has an arm injury because he refuses to be examined by a woman and he demands a male doctor, even though she is the most qualified medic available.

She is also concerned about the state of the road that leads down to the hospital but nobody in authority is interested in getting it fixed.

Maryam lives at home with her sisters, Selma (Dae al-Hilali) and Sara (Nora al-Awadh), and her father Abdulaziz (Khalid Abdulraheem). He is a respected musician who is struggling to get over the death of his wife and goes on tour with his band to take his mind off her.

While he is away, Maryam tries to take advantage by flying to a medical conference in Dubai where she hopes to put herself forward for a better job. However when she gets to the airport she is refused permission to fly because her father has failed to renew her travel permit and without his permission, she can’t fly.

She tries to see an official, who also happens to be her cousin, to get this rectified but she can’t even get an appointment with him. His secretary tells her he’s only seeing those who are signing up to be candidates to be a local councillor. So in order to see him, she signs up as a candidate herself. However, even when she sees him he still won’t budge on her permit.

Having signed up as candidate she decides to go ahead with it and armed with a googled checklist of how to win an election, she launches her campaign despite having no chance because she is female. 

We then get a lesson on political life in Saudi, particularly if you’re a woman, where the gender divide denies women a voice. Yet Maryam manages to get her political speech heard because she doesn’t focus on women’s rights like they all expected her to and instead turns her attention to the damaged road outside her hospital. This doesn’t improve her chances of winning but she does at least win that argument and the road is fixed.

(Sunday 12th April)

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