A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Women can do what men can do.
Positive Role Models
Amina's refrain is that she fears nothing.
All characters are Black in this story of a 16th century Nigerian kingdom. Some women seek the same autonomy as men in the patriarchal society. Although no woman has ever been supreme monarch, a king's daughter, a true leader, believes she should be queen. Enslaved females are treated and touted as sexual property. A man is called a "cripple."
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Violence & Scariness
Enslaved people battle a war hero in forced gladiatorial competitions to the death, with plenty of blood and wounds. Many battles feature one-on-one combat, sword deaths, arrow deaths, lots of moaning, ample blood spurts, barbarity. A man is speared in the eye; his wound is shown. Enslaved women are sold in public auctions, their sexual attributes touted -- e.g., "slender lips, slender hips, soft body, a pointed noise, upright breasts."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Amina is the story of a 16th century Nigerian princess who learns to fight so that she can eventually take the throne, becoming the first female ruler ever. This echoes many female-powered animated Disney films, like Mulan, Brave, and Moana, but with live-action battle scenes that recall the blood and guts of Braveheart, which makes this most appropriate for an older audience. Enslaved people battle a war hero in forced gladiatorial competitions to the death, with plenty of blood and wounds. Many battles feature one-on-one combat, sword deaths, arrow deaths, lots of moaning, ample blood spurts, and barbarity. A man is speared in the eye and his wound is shown. Enslaved women are sold in public auctions in which their sexual attributes are touted: "slender lips, slender hips, soft body, a pointed noise, upright breasts." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Amina is a messy mashup of other bloody genres and, as battle movies go, this is a hoot. Unfortunately, it's not supposed to be funny. It's shot as if it's a Greek tragedy or a Shakespearean comedy, and sinister political plots upon schemes upon plans abound. Betrayal, jealousy, gladiators, blood sports, and gamesmanship are all mixed with oppression against women, 16th century style; slavery (with Black enslavers, in this case); and war.
Most of the time this feels like Plan 9 from Outer Space, a sci-fi cinematic punchline from 1957 that director Ed Wood scraped together on a foundation of stilted, outlandish dialogue, cheap sets, bad acting, and creaky special effects, costumes, and makeup, as well as a confusing plot that mostly seems beside the point. In one Amina scene, a horse is seen urinating, and it isn't clear if the filmmakers noticed. Perhaps the editor thought it would be funny to leave it in. Like Plan 9, this is so-bad-it's-good cinema, only it's not good.
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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.
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