Quickening – TIFF21


Quickening – TIFF21

A character study of a young woman of color as she navigates family turmoil, love, and heartbreak.

Table of Contents

A Pakistani Canadian teenager deals with family turmoil and heartbreak in . Sheila () is a young woman from a Pakistani family, who has fallen in love with a white classmate at her university named Eden (). However, Sheila chooses not to reveal this information to her parents Aliya () and Azeem (), out of fear that they would not approve of her choices. However, Eden soon breaks off the relationship, causing Shiela's sense of reality to unravel.

Quickening is a coming-of-age drama by first-time writer-director Haya Waseem. Starring newcomer Arooj Azeem alongside her real-life parents, Quickening tackles the societal pressures and expectations faced by young women of colour. In the case of protagonist Shiela, she has to deal with love and loss in a short period of time, all while having to contend with the frequent fighting that goes on at home.

Going into Quickening knowing very little about the plot, it is interesting to start the film by showing the definition for Pseudocyesis (aka false pregnancy). While the inclusion of this definition does have relevance, it also alters viewer expectations for the second half of the film. Since I have no idea what it's like to be a Pakistani Canadian woman, I don't want to be too critical of Quickening, but it was ultimately a coming-of-age story that didn't really hit with me.

Quickening is screening as part of the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival

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Trailer for Quickening – TIFF21

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.