A 16-year-old girl’s relationship with her family is challenged after her mother takes her to a gynaecologist in order to ensure she’s still a virgin.
In Tehran, upper-middle class teen Ava abides by a strict routine of school, violin lessons, and home time. When Ava's mistrustful and overprotective mother questions her relationship with a boy — going so far as to consult a gynecologist — Ava is stunned by the outrageous privacy violation. The incident seriously diminishes trust between the girl and her parents and teachers, which in turn bleeds into all spheres of her life. What's more, the tightly controlled environment around Ava, who is forbidden to date, go out, or pursue her more artistic aspirations, foments feelings of suffocation and isolation. That her parents — including her sympathetic but powerless father — seem more concerned with social optics than their daughter's welfare only escalates Ava's rebellious behaviour, triggering serious and life-altering choices.
Sadaf Foroughi vividly renders her lead character's internal turmoil while exposing the snowball effect of her family's shaming. Each frame is stunningly composed with scenes offering a searing critique of the cage our protagonist finds herself in, all while creating one of the strongest, most richly developed female leads we've seen this year. With Ava, Foroughi has established herself as a cinematic force.