Persepolis is the true story of Marjane Satrapi, the writer and illustrator whose graphic novels of the same name the film is adapted from. It details in vivid animation the trials of growing up in war-torn Iran, but also, crucially, the joys of being raised by a loving family and the significance of forming one’s own ideals and identity. In between revolving dictatorships and tightening restrictions, Marjane comes into her own and discovers what it means to live a meaningful life.
It’s a testament to Satrapi’s many talents that Persepolis never feels too flat or cynical given its 2D style and bleak backdrop. The drawings impressively morph with Marjane’s every thought, as if the ink itself were alive, and her wit persistently comes through in sharp observations and dialogues. Equally impressive is the film’s commitment to portraying war and conflict in a nuanced manner. In an autobiographical tale that is about Marjane’s coming of age as much as it is about her country’s survival, it’s never been more true that the personal is political.
Led by visionary salesman Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace), skilled engineer Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy), and punk prodigy Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis), Halt and Catch Fire trails the risky dawn of the tech revolution—beginning with the invention of the personal computer in the 80s and winding through the dark corners of the primitive internet in the 90s.
Its exciting premise is anchored by top-notch performances, but despite having all the makings of a prestige show, it never took off in the same way Mad Men, Silicon Valley, or even Succession did.
Hailed as "the best show that nobody watched,” critical darling Halt and Catch Fire struggled to secure wide viewership throughout its four-season run. But what it lacked in ratings it certainly made up for in storytelling. The series continued to one-up itself each season as it centered on its characters and their believably bumpy journeys to self-discovery, all while consistently scoring where it mattered most: quality and ingenuity.
This heartwarming comedy-drama is about two best friends in their 20s who are deaf. One of them is a graphic novelist going through a breakup and the other just got engaged but is hiding the news out of fear of making her friend feel bad.
The script is sharp and funny, and like any first big production from a minority group, it also feels fresh and original: the arcs are unlike anything seen before, and the characters are a joy to discover and watch.
The result is something that feels like an easy and fun story until it’s not: in the first episode, when one of them doesn’t immediately put their seatbelt on in a plane, the cops come in and restrain their hands (their only way of communicating) to drag them out.
The two leads are played by the creators of the show - the first deaf showrunners in TV history. When they were trying to find a title for the series, they landed on the sign 🤏, not a phrase, that captured the bond between the two friends. “We’re showing something that’s intertwined... [the “this close” sign is] a sign used for “best friends, “like this” or “this close”. So we came up with “this close” from that."