The story's quiet power comes from its sensitive observation of the characters as normal, emancipated young modern women, with healthy desires and curiosities, whose supposed transgressions are imagined and then magnified in the judgmental minds of others.
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The film punctuates the sisters' confinement with various episodes united by their contrivance.
the director proves especially skilled with her cast of newcomers (of the thesps playing the sisters, only young Iscan, from “My Only Sunshine,” is a veteran), whose powerful individualism as well as their vibrant bond together are perfect vessels for the script’s message.
The exuberant life and liveliness that spills off the screen and the effortless sororal chemistry between these young actresses are compelling reasons to seek out Mustang.
This sneaky shocker of a debut feature —sneaky because it’s so good at depicting the sisters’ joyousness before, and even after, darkness descends — was directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven from a script she wrote with Alice Winocour.
While the subject matter is enraging, the film is not without warmth and occasional levity.
It’s not hard to see why Mustang has been dubbed the “Turkish Virgin Suicides.” Like Sofia Coppola’s dreamy, unsettling 1999 debut, it’s another first film by a young female director that focuses in feverish close-up on the adolescent awakening of five restless, radiant sisters — and the ruin that follows when their family tries to contain it.
The result, while less poetic and artful than Eugenides’ book or Coppola’s film, is much more emotionally direct, and pulls off a very tricky balancing act between bemoaning its characters’ fate and celebrating their resilience.
The ensemble of young actresses is a constantly restless and real presence, the perspective filtered mostly through the cheeky Lale but also through the group as a loving crew.
What begins as a playful look at five young women’s rebellion against their strict upbringing soon becomes something far more stirring and emotional.