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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
True love will win out over prejudice and coercion. Give people second chances. Protect those who are less able.
Positive Role Models
Kamala dances for men for work, but she holds her head up high and resists authority if they aren't in the right. She gives Salim another chance after she sees his crime. Salim is a hard worker and fights against those who may do Kamala harm.
Violence & Scariness
A man wakes from a nightmare hearing gunfire and shooting. Soldiers shoot down a married couple. A man gets hit by a car and dies. An older woman dies by suicide (pills are implied). A few fist fights, chase scenes, and moments of peril. An older sister slaps her younger sister in the face. A story is told about an arranged marriage where a young girl is "sold into servitude" and child sexual abuse is implied. A creepy man often leers over a young woman and calls her "hot stuff." A strong implication of forced or coerced sex work. Some talk of kids being arrested for working.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few scenes of men with their shirts off. An older woman says to the memory of an old lover: "you couldn't keep your hands off me." Some romantic kissing. Women dance at a club for patrons' money.
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Mild language includes, "hell," "damn," and "whore."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main characters constantly smoke cigarettes. Adults drink alcohol. A young man gets drunk off whiskey and passes out on the beach.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bombay Rose is an animated romance featuring beautiful art and music. Based on the same characters in director Gitanjali Rao's animated short, "True Love Story," this romance between two wayward souls is slow, sad, and a little haunting. Some of the material isn't for kids, like its stories of child sexual abuse and forced sex work. One character displays a consistent general violence and creepiness toward women. Mix in a healthy dose of the harsh realities of the Mumbai streets, obstacles to the lovers' future, and a few secrets to round out the drama. Some characters also turn into eagles, flying horses, and other culturally-significant mythical and historical creatures. Characters slip into dreams, whether they be about being a Bollywood star on the big screen or appearing as historical lovers. While there are some vaguely positive messages and characterizations, the feeling of the film is mostly somber. Also, the romance is very distant. Visually, the animation is painterly and colorful, and not without a kind of dream-like quality (the characters also often drift off into dreams). Characters face racism, violence, the threat of forced or coerced sex work, and generally tough daily lives. One story of a man selling off his young daughter to a pedophilic "old man" and the story of their eventual escape. An older woman dies by suicide and a man gets hit by a car and dies. Some fighting and a few chase scenes. Most adult characters constantly smoke cigarettes. Some drinking and mild language ("hell," "damn," "whore"). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a movie that's best for fans of unconventional love stories. The romance between Kamala and Salim grows slowly, as does the story between them. Bombay Rose is meditatively paced and there's not much to it, but it's visually delivered with color, culture, and beauty. Emphasizing the slow pace, the animation looks like it runs in 15 frames per second, which isn't necessarily a bad thing because the whole film is consistently like this, which only adds to the wistful feeling of the animation. This style serves the story thematically because most of the romance between Kamala and Salim is likewise dreamy and imaginary. They both clearly hope for a future, but they spend most of the time at quite a distance from each other. Enjoyment may vary, however, as the story of Kamala and Salim doesn't quite satisfy in the end, and Ms. D'Souza's story doesn't really have anything to do with Kamala and Salim beyond Ms. D'Souza being another story of lost love.
The main issue for some might have to do with how Kamala isn't really represented as a strong or independent woman. Further, a little while after she and Salim begin their courting, Salim stumbles into finding out that Kamala dances for money. He turns away disgusted. While they overcome this minor setback, this kind of moment in the romance genre is quite frankly sexist and has long been tired. Still, many viewers will be able to look past this criticism to enjoy the gorgeous art style on display.
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.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate