TIFF 2021: “Quickening”

Rating: 3 out of 5.

There are always social clashes happening in many parts of the world where a group is considered as intruders for the insiders and are rejected by them. So what’s the best outcome in such a situation? Should we change adjust to the norms of the new society or try to change it from within by bringing our own ancient rules? So what’s the point then of integrating into a new country when there is no intention of truly being a part of it?

Sheila, a Pakistani Canadian (Arooj Azeem) lives in Toronto. She studies arts, is talented and charismatic. She tries to fit in, be modern and righteous. But her parents (played by Azeem’s real-life parents) won’t set her free. When she started dating Eden, her white Canadian classmate, her friends were envious. But when Eden breaks up with Sheila all of a sudden, the young woman receives news that will change her life upside down, including her state of mind.

“Quickening” is an impressive debut feature from writer-director Haya Waseem, bringing a story with a personal touch. It’s about two societies where one woman must fit in. One is open and transparent; another one is controlled. Sheila must figure out how to break free. But before she does that, she will have to learn to accept herself, face her demons and allow her parents to hold her hands. Before doing that, Sheila must have her eyes wide open to not wear the same shoes twice.

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