Screenwriters: Alisar Hasan, Feras Fayyad
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for disturbing war-related thematic content and images
Release Date: 10/18/19 (Limited Theatrical)
Where to Watch: Rent-Buy — Fandango Now, Vudu, etc.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
The Cave, like fellow Oscar-nominated documentary, For Sama, is centered on Syrians trying to survive in a war zone. While this one is not autobiographical, it is still impactful, emotional, and harrowing. The young woman on whom The Cave — produced by National Geographic — focuses is a doctor who manages an underground hospital. Most of the patients are victims of the too-frequent bombings.
Like For Sama, this film does not shy away from showing the most gruesome and heartbreaking aspects of these people’s lives. And, in this film, you seem the sexism that the female doctors experience on a daily basis; in one particularly frustrating scene, the husband of an injured woman questions the hospital manager’s qualification — he, like some others, believes that women are meant to stay at home, not to have jobs.
The Cave gives us an intimate look, like For Sama, although I wish we had gotten to know more about the other doctors and nurses. Because it is not autobiographical, it would’ve been fascinating to know more about the others who worked tirelessly to save lives.
If For Sama had not been released in the same year, then perhaps The Cave would feel as powerful and urgent as it is meant to be. But Sama, which is essentially autobiographical, is better.