A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Trip to Unicorn Island is one of the first YouTube Red's original programs and features Toronto YouTuber Lilly Singh sharing her earnest message -- that everyone can be happy -- referencing her own past depression and the need for self-love. She implies that everyone can do the same if they just liberally apply a dose of self-love. Parents may have some issues with that simplistic view and might want to have a follow-up conversation about depression and its many causes and treatments. Singh radiates a sweet presence but lets fly with a few "effing"s in lieu of "f--k." We also hear the words "hell" and "damn." The rap song that covers the closing credits intones the words "s--t," "ho," and "makin' out." The one actual use of "f--k" is bleeped.
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What's the story?
As documented in A TRIP TO UNICORN ISLAND, popular YouTuber Lilly Singh wrested herself out of depression and now shares the message that everyone can do the same if they just liberally apply a dose of self-love. That advice is certainly questionable, as is the avowal that her goal is to help people rather than to be the center of attention. Her greatest talent is her infectious high spirits, and she speaks inspirationally, dances, and giggles from her Toronto bedroom videos, and tween to teen (mostly) girls swoon, cry, and adore from afar. Lilly and friends document her plan to bring the happiness message up close and personal to depressed girls around the world, starting in India and including Australia, and to other venues (not specifically named). She speaks from the heart directly to the camera about the struggle to create a show but exposes her inexperience and immaturity as she leaves some essentials -- travel visas for her cast and, oops, the entire animation segment -- to the last minute, which almost sidelines the tour. Hard work and high spirits prevail as she powers through the process to sold-out crowds.
Is it any good?
This engaging documentary, one of the first YouTube Red's original programs, has many touching moments, particularly as Lilly's hard work results in a show she feels proud of. But her earnest confessions about surmounting self-imposed obstacles sometimes verges on the kind of parody perfected on TV's self-importance extravaganza, Parks and Recreation. Although Lilly's goal is laudable -- to lift the spirits of the depressed -- she often slips into the sort of oblivious self-importance that looks a lot like the precursor for another bout of depression. Fortunately, her winning effervescence beams brightly through as she reiterates her hope to spread positivity and happiness.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Lilly's audience seems to be mostly female. Do you think her messages are universal?
Do you think loving yourself helps you achieve happiness? Why, or why not? Do you think depressed people can cure themselves by following Lily's advice?
Do you think Lily would have gotten her message out into the world without YouTube? Why, or why not?
Who are some other YouTube stars you know?
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