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A Hard Knock Life

Upon first hearing the title of this film, many will quickly assume it refers to notorious terrorist Osama Bin Laden. It does not.

Osama is the heartbreaking true story of a young girl forced to disguise herself as a boy so that she is permitted to hold a job. But after a glimpse of hope for Osama, it becomes clear that whatever window of possibility that existed at the outset is rapidly closing. Because of this, the film lacks a traditional finale, preferring to simply finish when her future is no longer in question.

However, as much as it is about the tortured life of a young girl, the film is equally intent on providing an insight into the harsh reality of life during the Taliban's reign in Afghanistan. Instead of using dialogue to hollowly describe the unpalatable side of Islamic society, the movie bravely shows everything from the misogynous ways of Islamic men to the provincial, but self-serving, interpretation of their religious ideals.

In many ways, Osama complements the 'war is hell' message pushed by the media through daily coverage of the seemingly unending string of suicide bombings and guerilla raids. While violence may be more dramatic, this film reminds us that quiet injustice without hope for reconciliation is no less tragic.

Stars: 3.5 out of 5