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Playground(Un monde)

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Belgium · 2021
1h 12m
Director Laura Wandel
Starring Maya Vanderbeque, Günter Duret, Karim Leklou, Laura Verlinden
Genre Drama

Nora is a shy 7-year-old struggling to settle into her classroom. She soon notices her older brother Abel suffering from harassment at the hands of bullies, and though she wants to help, he demands that she keep the abuse a secret, placing her in a difficult position.

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What are people saying?

What are critics saying?


Paste Magazine by

Wandel’s movie is immersive and bruising, full of empathy for its young characters, and unrelenting in its depiction of the challenges they face. And it makes you wonder, with utmost sincerity—how did any of us ever reach adulthood in one piece?


The A.V. Club by A.A. Dowd

Playground smartly complicates the situation by showing how Nora juggles her desperate concern for her brother with a fear that his plummeting social stock might drag her into the same boat. It’s hard to watch, but Wandel doesn’t blink.

88 by Carlos Aguilar

Fashioned out of fresh faces unable to lie to the camera, “Playground” is a study in human behavior wrapped in equal parts fear and curiosity.


Variety by Jessica Kiang

Wandel’s immersive, impressive debut is rigorous in its resolute focus on one little girl fighting a lonely, frightened battle for her future selfhood, in which what hangs in the balance is nothing less than the shape and measure of her developing soul.


Los Angeles Times by Justin Chang

No one in this movie has a complete understanding of what’s going on, but Wandel proves that a sensitive enough camera can provide a fuller picture than most.


The Hollywood Reporter by Lovia Gyarkye

Despite its subject matter, Playground is not a call to action masked as a film. It’s a gripping work of observation more concerned with identifying patterns, teasing out motivations and laying bare the reality of how we come to relate to one another.


IndieWire by Susannah Gruder

While Wandel does well to leave some things to the imagination, like what happens beyond the schoolyard, she not-so-subtly nails the point home in the end, showing how all it takes is one person to stop bullying at its source. Still, her film is an arresting, eye-opening look at how violence begins at an early age, and how we can learn to be bystanders, or have the strength to speak out.

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