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Pakistan · 2022
2h 7m
Director Saim Sadiq
Starring Ali Junejo, Rasti Farooq, Alina Khan, Sarwat Gilani
Genre Drama, Romance

In inner-city Lahore, a patriarchal family yearns for the birth of a baby boy to continue the family line. Meanwhile, the youngest son takes a job as a backup dancer in a Bollywood-style burlesque and quickly becomes infatuated with the strong-willed trans woman who runs the show.

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What are critics saying?


Screen Daily by Allan Hunter

Sadiq’s screenplay navigates a complex web of secrets and lies, pressures and prejudices to create a soulful human drama intent on challenging narrow minds.


The Film Stage by Ethan Vestby

Another example of a tasteful but passionless festival film, Saim Sadiq’s feature debut Joyland errs on the side of arch family drama when its most interesting aspects remain almost in the periphery, promising a much better film.


Variety by Guy Lodge

Tartly funny and plungingly sad in equal measure, this is nuanced, humane queer filmmaking, more concerned with the textures and particulars of its own intimate story than with grander social statements — even if, as a tale of transgender desire in a Muslim country, its very premise makes it a boundary-breaker.


The Hollywood Reporter by Lovia Gyarkye

As Joyland heads toward its end, the film grows increasingly moving. Secrets and their attendant lies collapse under pressure. The weight of what’s left unsaid strangles interactions.


Slashfilm by Ryan Leston

Joyland is a wonderful film about longing and desire with a melancholy undertone that you just don't expect.


IndieWire by Siddhant Adlakha

The frame moves slowly, if at all, but it always brims with physical and emotional energy; in “Joyland,” there’s always something in the ether, whether embodied by dazzling displays of light as characters move across stages and club floors, or by breathtaking silences as they begin to figure each other out, and figure out themselves.

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