Rated 4.0

With co-director Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi adapts her own graphic-novel memoirs into a lively, feminist, first-person animated account of Iran’s Islamic Revolution. And were it not for her nation’s dramatic recent history, including the overthrow of the Shah, the rise of the ayatollah and the war with Iraq, this might just seem like a conventional story about a middle-class girl’s coming of age. But that familiarity allows it a deep, lasting resonance of which few political histories can boast. Hand-drawn mostly in black and white, the film flows in a disarmingly elegant, expressionist style. Arguably, Satrapi’s books already were fully realized as books; the Persepolis movie didn’t need to get made. Still, a few nonpolitical nuances—like young Marjane’s awkward growth spurts or her post-heartbreak revision of the history of her first love affair—actually seem better realized through animation. What matters most is that artifice never obscures the human truth.