From A.O. Scott’s review:
“Persepolis” is a simple story told by simple means. Like Marjane Satrapi’s book, on which it is based, the film, directed by Ms. Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, consists essentially of a series of monochrome drawings, their bold black lines washed with nuances of gray. The pictures are arranged into the chronicle of a young girl’s coming of age in difficult times, a tale that unfolds with such grace, intelligence and charm that you almost take the wondrous aspects of its execution for granted.
I loved Persepolis… the Iranian Revolution was a curious thing to study, in college. Throughout the middle part of the last century, with the Cold War raging, the expectation for “Revolution” was nearly always a marxist concern. Even little Marjane’s relatives in Persepolis expected the Proletariat to prevail. What was new and unique in Iran was the rise of a reactionary, religious authority – that no one in the West, (and also the liberal elite in Iran), saw coming…
But as interesting as the politics in the film are, this is still primarily the story of a young girl, and her personal journey. I loved Ms. Satrapi’s depiction of her anarchist friends in Vienna, (where she attended French boarding school). These Europeans embraced her in part because of her experience with revolution and war, but they had no clue about the personal cost of this experience. Teenaged Marjane struggles with her identity, while they laugh behind her back. And in the end, we’re not quite sure that she comes out on top.
Persepolis is a journey worth taking, and the animation really is wonderful.