Film review – The Perfect Candidate (2019)

The Perfect Candidate

It is possible that many audience members will come to this Saudi Arabian film, about a woman running in a local council election, with preconceived ideas about what kind of film it might be. Despite recent and ongoing changes to address the gendered discriminatory laws, Saudi Arabia is not a country that is generally well-regarded for how it treats women. It is therefore understandable that audiences may expect The Perfect Candidate to be a film full of fury, which makes the fact that it is a crowd-pleasing and accessible drama both surprising and its greatest strength. It definitely explores the bigotry, biases and hypocrisy against women, but it presents those themes in a way that is often recognisable and familiar. In other words, The Perfect Candidate cannot be easily compartmentalised as portraying a set of attitudes that can be easily dismissed as happening in a different part of the world, as too many of the values and behaviour towards women that are depicted in the film are familiar and recognisable to those of us in western countries.

Read and listen to the rest of this review at ABC Radio Melbourne