A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Assumptions such as "Women are not successful in music," "Girls don't play drums," and "Mexican-American performers cannot crossover to find a wider audience in the United States" dispelled through the actions and talents of Selena, her family, and her band.
Positive Role Models
The movie shows the hard work required for musicians to make it in the music industry. Through perseverance, talent, and dedication, Selena -- with the help of her family -- finds hard-won success in both Mexico and the United States. She transcends what her father called "the roadblocks," rooted in sexist and racist attitudes, often put in the way of female Mexican-American performers. Selena also is shown always having time for her fans.
Violence & Scariness
It's not shown, but we learn through news reports that a character has fatally shot someone; she's then shown holding the gun to her own head. We briefly see the victim being carried to an ambulance on a stretcher. Early in the movie, a barroom brawl ensues when a Mexican-American doo-wop group performing in a predominantly Mexican-American club in Texas in the early 1960s doesn't play the type of music the patrons want to hear. A stage nearly collapses during a concert.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing between two main characters who later get married; an unidentified couple is shown kissing passionately at a fair. Selena wears some skimpy tops on stage.
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A character says "s--t" and "damn" in frustration. Non-Latinos are referred to as "gringos" in a few scenes. "Caca."
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Products & Purchases
A bag of Doritos and a can of Coca-Cola are visible in separate scenes. Signs for Bank One hang prominently from the rafters of large concerts. The guitarist of the band wears a Jose Cuervo T-shirt and later wears a Jose Cuervo hat. A six-pack of Bud Light is plainly visible in a hotel room.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Beer drinking in a rough-and-tumble bar in the early 1960s; patrons act drunk and throw bottles at the performing band. A hard-rock band is shown trashing a hotel room; empty beer bottles are strewn throughout the room.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Selena is a 1997 movie based on the life of the popular singer who was killed in 1995. Kids may ask questions about the events surrounding her murder. It isn't shown, but one character does hold a gun to her own head. A character says "s--t" and "damn" in frustration. Non-Latinos are referred to as "gringos" in a few scenes. Selena wears some skimpy tops on stage. There's a barroom brawl and a near stage collapse. For aspiring musicians, this movie shows the amount of work, dedication, and perseverance it took Selena and her family to find success. This movie also shows the sexist and racist attitudes Selena had to transcend as a Mexican-American female lead vocalist. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Although it occasionally feels somewhat sugar-coated, this film remains a very watchable, entertaining, and moving tribute to a beloved performer. Selena also includes portrayals of Mexican-American culture and Hispanic families. A great pick for families looking to learn more about the Tejano superstar.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.