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It’s present-day Turkey, and five orphaned sisters are heading home from school when they decide to have a cooling dip at the local beach.

Unfortunately, some of their fellow (male) students join them, and while nothing remotely suspect happens, it’s enough to send their ultra-conservative Uncle into a frenzy. Bars are put on the windows, their free time is closely watched and arranged marriages are now firmly on the agenda. Some of the girls find ways to work within this system; others are less successful.

Writer/director Deniz Gamze Erguven largely avoids clichés – even the Uncle’s views can be understood, at least until he eventually becomes a straight-up villain – and while the subject matter is harsh, the film’s strength is the girls’ irrepressible nature. It’s the varying ways they fight back against their plight that makes this film so warm and enjoyable; the darker moments despite their realism somehow feel less convincing.

Reviewed by Anthony Morris