TIFF 2016 Review: Girl Unbound
The film Girl Unbound (along with its completely uninspired subtitle The War to be Her) plays out in a manner befitting of such a passionate and powerful star in Maria Toorpakai. Banned from competing in a boy’s sport by the Taliban, Toorpakai finds refuge in Canada.
Though the story is an individual one (and focusing on an individual sport, that of squash), the film is clearly a team effort. The nominal head of the team is Erin Heidenreich, a former film sales agent turned director, who bathes the film in shades of white and deep hues in turns, to represent the changing landscapes.
While the documentary may not offer any surprises, one of the aspects of the film that stuns is the lack of dearness we are expected to provide for Toopakai. It is clear that the story is one of empathy, and yet Toorpakai (and Heidenreich) let the film stand on its own, not forcing its audience to simply rest on shared feeling. Ironically, so passionate about team, the film rests on individual achievement.