Hala: this small, delicate drama, by Minhal Baig, tells, in general terms, a recognizable story, that of a teen trying to carve her own place in the world, pushing against the traditional values of her family. The specific detail, that the main character is a Muslim girl, adds some specificity, but it also helps to show how universal that drive, and therefore this film, actually is. It is a touching and insightful story. The protagonist is a smart, talented girl, full of agency in spite of all the pressure she suffers from her parents; the performance of Geraldine Viswanathan in the role is very effective. The other performers are also fine, for the most part acting in a low key. That same low key informs the film aesthetically.