I need to stop waiting until the last minute. I do hope to watch a second one today, though.
Offside 8 or 9/10 (I've forgotten how to rate)
Even though the politics of Iranian gender relations are ever-present in the film, and undeniably it's thematic core, Panahi makes them peripheral in a story that is anchored to its characters and held together by the nearly real time pacing which, despite a few draggy moments, mostly moves the film along faster than you'd expect. As clearly scripted as the film is there's a sense of 'anything can happen' that kept me engaged and interested in both the little dramas and the overarching question of what will happen to these girls. It's ironic that this was banned in Iran because the patriotism and emotional investment in the match probably works better for a viewer who can more directly identify with the subject rather than a general "yeah, I guess I know what it's like to be a fan of a team." On the whole, though, it has a nice mix of characters who are relatable and sympathetic so that you don't view it as one group vs another but a bunch of people each trying to navigate a situation that is enough of their own doing that that they take responsibility but unfair enough that you don't feel a need to cast blame.