Portraying 70 years of strife through the eyes of an 11-year-old girl exiled in Beirut, Mats Grorud’s The Tower offers up a dark if rather accessible depiction of how Israel’s creation in 1948 resulted in the forced displacement of a quarter of a million Palestinians – most of whom have never returned to their homeland. […] [T]he animated feature, which mixes claymation and 2D techniques, is at times reminiscent of Ari Folman’s Waltz With Bashir […].
The Norwegian-born Grorud spent a year working at the Burj el-Barajneh camp in the suburbs south of Beirut, culling stories from some of the refugees he encountered. From that experience he crafted the tale of Wardi (voiced by Romina Adl Kasravi), a smart if shy pre-teen who was born in the camp and, sadly, represents the fourth generation of her family living there.
As grim as that sounds, The Tower is filled with moments of bittersweet humor and shreds of hope in the character of Wardi, while Grorud’s playful animation helps lighten the load of his discourse. […] Grorud’s debut feature remains a well-researched and penetrating look at an ongoing crisis, – nearly 1.5 million Palestinians still live in refugee camps throughout the Arab world – allowing viewers, especially younger ones, to grasp the human repercussions of a neverending conflict.
Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter