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YMMV / The Breadwinner

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  • Awesome Art: As per the Cartoon Saloon tradition.
  • Fridge Brilliance: When Parvana tells her stories, the characters talk verbatim the exact words she says, and act out her narration to a T. But when Fattema extends the story one night, the characters have depth, say their own original dialogue, and seem more like real people. Remember that Fattema is a writer, and should be well versed with creativity and skill, while Parvana is coming up with these stories on the fly and initially doesn’t extend the stories beyond entertainment. When Parvana becomes more optimistic, she uses the stories as a coping mechanism and the characters become more life-like. When she faces the grief of her brother head-on, Sulayman starts to act more like he did in Fattema’s story, with his own narration and character, symbolizing Parvana’s growth.
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  • Fridge Horror: Unshaved Mouse had a Eureka Moment that Parvana and her father are darker skinned than her mother and sister, because the latter two aren't allowed outside and therefore don't get much sunlight.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Nurallah tells Idress to stop looking at Parvana is reminiscent to the story when Muhammad called out his cousin for looking at a woman at which he did not blame or told her to cover herself.
    • Crossed with Bilingual Bonus: The protagonist's given name is Parvana, which means 'moth'. When she goes out as a boy, she adops the name Aatish, which means 'fire' (even though, as multiple characters point out, it's not usually used as a name). A moth attracted to a flame is a very common metaphor in Farsi and Urdu poetry, originally stemming from Sufi philosophy (the moth being the human soul, and the flame being the Beloved, that is, God). It also can be interpreted as a human striving for the impossible and probably dangerous, which is exactly what Parvana is doing.
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  • Iron Woobie: Shauzia. Like Parvana, she has to pull a Sweet Polly Oliver to earn money in Taliban-run Afghanistan to support her family. Unlike Parvana, she makes extremely casual references to her terrible father and has been Conditioned to Accept Horror due to less than favorable surroundings. In spite of it all, she tries to remain cheerful and optimistic and holds onto her dream of seeing the ocean some day.
  • Les Yay: Parvana and Shauzia becomes very close during their time disguised as boys. Shauzia also repeatedly offers Parvana to move to the seaside with her some day so they can open a shop together. Shauzia also gets very upset when Parvana reveals her family is moving far away for her sister's arranged marriage, angrily and heart-brokenly accuses her of leaving her, and Parvana offers her to come with them.
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  • Memetic Mutation: If this counts, a couple jokes were cracked on Twitter about a certain similarly-named Nicktoon.
  • Moment of Awesome: Fattema's Mama Bear moment of defiance on the desert road when her cousin's car breaks down. First she tells him to let them go, then she fends him off with a makeshift torch, then she grabs the knife he pulled on her by the blade saying that he'll have to kill her if he won't let her go back for Parvana.
    "I will scream and curse you until the last breath leaves my body."
  • Spiritual Adaptation: To Osama, though the novel predates it.
  • Squick: Idrees is made of it, saying, "She's old enough to marry, I'll be looking for a wife soon," in reference to the eleven-year-old Parvana in his first few minutes of screentime. Nurallah has to claim that he's promised her to someone else for him to drop the subject, only for him to start screaming like a spoiled child about how she should cover herself more if that's the case. He also gets incredibly handsy with her when she's disguised as a boy working for his uncle's kiln, physically pins her to the ground at one point and grabs her face by the cheeks—leading him to recognize her. Considering this, he may have intended to do more than kill her when chasing her down from his uncle's kiln.
  • Unconventional Learning Experience: Viewers can learn a surprising amount about Afghanistan history and culture from watching the film; especially Nurallah telling Parvana the history of their people in the film's opening.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: While the movie focuses on a brave Kid Hero overcoming all odds to protect her family, it's also far darker and more violent than its beautifully-animated facade would suggest. The real-life poverty, repression, abuse and misogyny of Taliban Afghanistan is unflinchingly portrayed, as are the chaos and destruction of war. The final act in particular involves multiple instances of bloody violence, the implied threat of sexual assault and an exploration of psychological trauma and grief.


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