A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Chopsticks is a 2019 Indian dramedy in which a young woman attempts to find her stolen new car with the help of a mysterious underworld figure known as "The Artist." There's some profanity, including "f--k" used several times. There's also some violence and peril involving an eccentric crime boss who gets violent with henchmen who don't give his beloved pet goat the proper care and feeding. Cigarette smoking is seen, and there's drinking in a bar and at a party. One of the lead characters rolls what might be a joint; it's never said outright if it's marijuana or tobacco. The stolen car is a Hyundai; the opening scene takes place in a Hyundai dealership, with the name and logo prominently displayed. The movie has some off-color humor, including a double entendre. Overall, this movie is best described as lighthearted noir, with positive messages on taking risks in life and standing up for yourself.
What's the story?
CHOPSTICKS' Nirma (MIthila Palkar), 24, is new to the big city. She's trying to make her way up through the ranks as a tour guide, and has just purchased her first new car. On her first night out on the town with her new car, she's unable to find a parking spot. A man claiming to be a parking attendant offers to park her car for her, to which she agrees. When she returns hours later, the car is stolen, and when she reports the crime to the police, they do little but make fun of her. While distraught and uncertain of what to do next, a detained man at the police station overhears her story, and tells her that she needs to seek out the assistance of an enigmatic man known simply as "The Artist" (Abhay Deol). She meets up with The Artist, who is a master chef and master thief. Despite her attempting to hit him with pepper spray, The Artist takes a liking to the naive Nirma, and helps her track down her stolen car. Their search reveals that it has ended up with an eccentric Mumbai crime boss. The car is currently being used as a bed by the crime boss's beloved pet fighting goat, which is why the car hasn't already been stripped for parts. With the help of The Artist, Nirma must find a way to get her car back and prove that she has the courage to face down her fears and live life on her own terms.
Is it any good?
This movie can best be described as lighthearted noir. There's nothing groundbreaking about it, but Chopsticks is an entertaining movie with positive messages on taking chances in life and being unafraid to take risks. As the naive young woman new to the big city and the streetwise con artist, respectively, Mithila Palkar and Abhay Deol have a relaxed chemistry that sustains the movie through the drama, comedy, and action. There's also a dry, self-aware humor that carries the day, that prevents the serious moments from being too sappy, and the more action/noir elements from being too cliché.
Ultimately, the movie stays within its boundaries, and while a cynic might question the overall premise, execution, and ending, the movie isn't intended to be the proverbial "deep thinker." That said, it probably isn't for everybody. However, with the right attitude and reasonable expectations, Chopsticks delivers entertainment that swings between sweet and salty without going into the extremes in the story that a Hollywood production would most likely do with a similar script -- i.e., more violence from the bad guys, or an inevitable "falling in love" montage between the two main characters. It's a fun movie on its own terms.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about dramadies. How does this compare to other dramadies you've seen, and how does it contain elements of both drama and comedy?
How does Chopsticks convey its messages of taking risks in life and standing up for yourself?
This movie is set in India. How do you think the movie would be different if it had been set in a different country?
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