Mustang (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Drama
Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Distributor: Cinéart
Duration: 89 minutes

Mustang (DVD) – Movie Review

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Good: Interesting plot, eyeopener
Bad: Here and there the acting is not that convincing
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In the West, we often do not realize how blessed we are, as it’s not everywhere in the world that girls can praise themselves lucky to be free and do what they want. For Lale and her sisters, who take the lead in this film, it seemed like they had nothing to worry about, until the neighborhood starts to have doubts about their behavior and even their virginity, and they realize they will be married off one by one. It’s not an easy thing to cope with as a teenager, as gets clear while watching this film.


The summer holidays which Lale (Günes Sensoy) and her four sisters have been waiting for so long, have finally arrived. On their way home, in the Turkish countryside, they play in the sea with some boys, but once home, it gets clear that that wasn’t the best idea. A woman from their neighborhood saw them and as she found their behavior downright unacceptable, she called their grandmother to say as much. Since the death of their parents, the girls live with their grandmother and uncles, who aren’t happy with what they have just found out. Their uncle decides they should be taught better manners, and how to be a good wife. He also makes sure that the house is secure, not so much against intruders, rather than his nieces trying to elope. One day, they do manage to get out, to go see a football game, but ever since the house has become more and more like a prison, including bars on the windows.

Not much later, young men and their families start coming to the house and it gets clear that the girls will be married off, or at least the older ones. Lale finds it difficult to see how, one by one, her sisters leave the house, be it not very happily. Since she is the youngest, there isn’t that much chance she will be married off this summer, but this also means that she will have to stay in this prison for quite some time still. All of her sisters seem to have lost their spirit, and undergo their fate without putting up any real fight, but Lale decides that this is not the right way to go. She desperately wants to escape, and will go to any extent to do so.


During the one and a half hour long film, there isn’t a moment that is dull or insignificant. The pace does have its ups and downs. One time, Dinez Gamze Ergüven really takes her time to sketch an image, while at other times she goes more speedily through certain scenes, for example the weddings. nonetheless this variation gives the film a bit more interest and never makes the film seem too hasty.

The story is told from the point of view of the youngest sister Lale, who is also a narrator throughout the entire movie. This is also an easy way to speed certain events up and jump a bit in time. Using Lale as a narrator also has another advantage as, because she is the youngest, she sees everything happen, and fully understands what is going on, but nonetheless is too young to be married off herself, and thus still has a reason to fight.

When it comes to the story itself, it was nicely written and even though the topic is rather heavy, it is brought with enough humor  for it to still be enjoyable to watch. The girl’s big mouths and courage, at least before they get married off, will make you laugh more than once.


Even though most of the girls didn’t have any acting experience whatsoever, it only occasionally shows off on camera. They seem to be forming a very good team that is convincing and fun to watch. Günes Sensoy also deserves a shout out, as she does a very good job portraying the rebellious Lale.

Next to the trailer, there are two more extras to enjoy on this DVD release. The first one is an interview with director Dinez Gamze Ergüven, which is quite interesting, although not thanks to the interviewer’s questions, but rather because Ergüven talks passionately about the film and how it came to be. The second extra is a short film called ‘Bir Damla Su’ (A Taste of Water), in which Ergüven herself takes the lead as an older Lale, living in Paris. Both of these extra features are an interesting addition to the film. Certainly the short film is an original extra that, even though the filming and screenplay are rather different, can be appreciated with or without having seen Mustang.


Even though the topic of arranged marriage and chastity among girls is rather serious, Mustang is a nice film to watch , which can also be said for the extras. A lot of humor makes the pill quite a lot easier to swallow, at least for us viewers. This is only Dinez Gamze Ergüven’s first movie, but we will definitely hear more from her in the future.


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