Marjane Satrapi grew up in Iran, living through the end of the Shah's regime, the revolution that overthrew the Shah, and the establishment of the fundamentalist government that imposed increasingly strict rules upon the Iranian people, especially girls and women. In Persepolis, the film adaptation of her popular graphic novels, Satrapi acts as a historian of sort of her own life, visualized in stark grayscale animation that brings the novel to life on the big screen.

When we first meet Marjane, she's a nine-year-old would-be punk rocker running about in her jeans and Adidas sneakers; we follow her through her early coming-of-age and rebelliousness during the transition after the Shah's government was overthrown, during which her parents, concerned for her safety, sent her to school in Austria. She was supposed to stay with a friend of her mother's, but the friend tired of having her after only a couple days, and dropped her off at a boarding school. A series of moves followed, as Marjane struggled to fit into her new culture. She'd left Iran in part because of religious fundamentalism and intolerance; in Austria, she found intolerance of a different sort, and was hindered by assumptions her fellow students had about Iran and Iranians. She found a way to fit in, and even fell in and out of love, but ultimately missed her family and moved back to Iran for a few years before finally leaving her home country for good.