• Jennifer Green

Review: "Donkeyhead"

This Canadian drama set against the Punjabi Sikh immigrant community offers an authentic tale of growing up and facing life's challenges.


Donkeyhead writer-director-star Agam Darshi convincingly embodies the main character, whose struggles to overcome childhood trauma and grapple with the responsibilities of adult life impact all of her siblings. The delayed adolescent is a frequented trope that can grate on the nerves of adult viewers who've done their maturing.


Darshi imbues Mona with genuine pathos, but despite her very real pain, it's also hard not to empathize with her siblings' frustration with her increasingly childish antics.

As director, Darshi places her characters in noticeably dark, sometimes almost claustrophobic settings, all of which feels symbolic. Likewise, the outdated décor and chronic plumbing blockages of the family home seem to echo Mona's mental and emotional state.

The actors playing Mona's siblings all bring something individual to the family mix, especially Stephen Lobo as Mona's twin and the family's conflicted prodigal son, Parm. His coming out provides a lesson in blended identity.


Grieving relatives constantly buzz around in the background, embodying generational differences as well as the way traditions get carried on and perhaps lose some vitality in immigrant communities.


One or two scenes could have been cut to bring Donkeyhead down to a tighter run time. But the film offers many memorable characters and moments and plenty of food for thought about growing up and growing old.

 

Read the full review at Common Sense Media.