• Kieran Burt

1982 Review

Updated: Jun 6

This powerful film hammers home the horrors of war with full force...

1982 is a harrowing film about a boy’s simple quest to profess his love to his crush - a struggle many can relate to, sure, but one made infinitely more challenging when his life is upended by a military invasion that same day. This film is a horrifying watch, and gives the audience a better perspective as to what happens to the civilians caught up in events far beyond their control.

The film very cleverly starts as a normal school day. Nothing is wrong, and the audience would be forgiven for thinking that this could be quite a sweet, innocent film. But the war slowly creeps into the narrative - at first only sounded by the fearful newscasters, things continue to ramp up in intensity, with warplanes and convoys becoming visible, encroaching on the school. Then the bombing starts. This is when a sense of panic has fully set in, creeping into the story in a way that justifies the slow pace and length of the film - as if it was rushed, then it would not have the same effect on the audience.

1982 captures the sense of rising panic that would be felt in such a catastrophic situation

Another aspect that 1982 captures brilliantly is perspective. It’s already been said that the audience gets a more human perspective than any textbook, but it isn’t just a civilian’s viewpoint that is given. Fanatics on both sides, those stuck in the middle, the apolitical teachers who just want to get on with their day - a wide range of stories are told, helping the viewer to understand that war, and how it delivers a shock to differing ideologies, can cause people to split at the seams.

The actors playing the children should be praised for their work. Mohamad Dalli, who plays Wissam, is the star of the show, capturing the head-over-heels nature of falling in love, and the childlike image of wishing that superheroes could save the day. He also manages to project a strong sense of anger towards his best friend Majid, who is played by Ghassan Maalouf. Another standout actor is Nadine Labaki, who plays Yasmine, one of the teachers at the school. She contributes a lot to the film, especially in one scene late on, where her calm exterior slips, revealing the true, hidden stress her character has been experiencing all along.

Overall, 1982 captures the sense of rising panic that would be felt in such a catastrophic situation, and does this while simultaneously exploring the different perspectives that such a situation would bring.


1982 is opening exclusively in select theaters across the US, beginning June 10 in New York (at the Quad Cinema)