SFF 2016 - Sonita - Mini review

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by Chris Ricci

There are two versions of ourselves: the version that we live with on a daily basis, and the dream version that we long to be. But what separates us from that dream? Money? Fear? Tradition? For the titular "Sonita," it's all of the above. 

"Sonita" follows a teenager from Afghanistan who illegally immigrated to Tehran with her sister to escape not only the vice grip of terrorism, but also her family that, in some ways, act as an organization that instills terror. 

Sonita has dreams, and dances the line between reality and fantasy daily. But it is her will and her desire to follow those dreams that make her tale more harrowing. Sonita wants to sing, which is taboo to the point of political intervention, but the binds of which are merely challenges that can easily be combatted. 

The challenges faced by Sonita are experienced in real time, dragging the audience into the fray in ways that are incomprehensible. The atrocities she faces are things that are difficult for us to fathom, but her care-free and matter-of-fact attitude brings forth the ultimate question: do we, as viewers, live in our quintessential dream world already? 

Her story is one that, in a terrible way, isn't one that's uncommon. The struggles she faces are real, and the horror of that are insurmountable. However, her dance with dreams, her desire for perfection, and her passion for the arts that seem out of reach are truly unique and are a testament to the value of the human spirit. What is the price for happiness? For some there's an actual value, but "Sonita" will teach you that some things don't have value, and are emotionally priceless.