At it’s core, The Kite Runner is a story about fathers and sons. There is Baba, a rich man living in Afghanistan and his son Amir. There is Ali, who is Baba’s lifelong friend and servant, and his son Hassan, who is Amir’s closest friend. Rahim’s father was the servant to Baba’s father. These lives are intertwined and there are bonds that should not be able to be broken.
The title refers to a popular sport in Afghanistan at that time, kite flying. One boy would man the kite, the string specially treated to be razor sharp, with a goal of cutting the strings of the other kites. Once a kite was cut, another boy would run to catch it, as kites were a prized possession. During the city tournament, Amir’s kite wins, and Hassan runs to catch it. It is that simple act of running to catch a kite that drives the rest of the story forward.
Hassan is brutally attacked by a group of older boys who resent him for being Hazara, a people who populate the central regions of Afghanistan. Amir witnesses the attack but does not intervene, and the resulting guilt causes him to make a decision that impacts his life and Hassan’s life forever. Amir is shown to be non-violent, a pacifist almost to a fault, while it is Hassan who shows courage in the face of bullies, until he is overpowered and unable to fight.
After the Soviet Union occupies Afghanistan, Baba and Amir flee to Pakistan, and then make their way to California. Years later, Amir, now married, receives a phone call calling him back to Pakistan. He learns a shocking family secret, and embarks on a journey back to Afghanistan to rescue a boy who is living in horrible conditions. He finds his beloved Kabul to be greatly changed.
I won’t give away the ending except to say that there is happiness to it, and a sense of closure for Amir. He gets his chance at redemption as well as finding a way to move his life forward. Except for the one scene of brutality, which is really not even shown as much as implied, the movie is full of stirring images of life in Afghanistan, and for Afghanis living in California. The wedding of Amir and Soraya is particularly beautiful. If you are a fan of the book, you should definitely see this. If you haven’t read the book, you should still see this, for it’s evocative imagery, it’s quietly brilliant acting, and it’s happy ending.
To enter to win $1000.00 or one of ten copies of “The Kite Runner” signed by author Khaled Hosseini, visit this Kite Runner DVD Sweepstakes page to enter and for all of the rules. The contest ends April 8th.