A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Everyone has to fight for herself. Before you fight, you have to conquer your fear. Don't tell a tiger to fight like an elephant. Girls should do their best and try their hardest in order to help change the minds of those who believe that girls are inferior to boys.
Positive Role Models
Phogat was a wrestler when young; when his wife bears only daughters, he trains them to compete in women's wrestling at the highest level, despite their reluctance, embarrassment. Geeta and Babita come to see the value in all that their father has taught them. A jealous coach tries to eliminate the father's influence on the girls. The younger sister who admires her older sibling has wisdom to share as the elder rebels.
Violence & Scariness
Women wrestling matches features throws, twists, grips, and holds. Physical training for such matches is taxing. Someone is locked in a closet. The girls fight at school when bullied, giving the father the idea to train them to be wrestlers. A very tall and muscular wrestler challenges a smaller man to wrestle. The tall man loses. Geeta and her father wrestle fiercely.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Men ogle girls dressed for wrestling.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults consume alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dangal, in Hindi with English subtitles, is based on the true story of two girls from a small Indian village whose strict father insisted on training them with the goal of winning gold medals in international women's wrestling. This stirring movie, about striving for excellence and rejecting received wisdom of so-called experts, follows the girls as they unwillingly bend to their father's iron will and endure 5 a.m. workouts and humiliating haircuts. They come to appreciate how much the father's high standards and training methods reflect his respect for women. This is set in stark contrast to the fates many Indian women are relegated to: wife at 14, child-bearer, cook. Older kids, and especially girls, may be surprised to watch a movie that seems to be about an unfair dad that turns into a celebration of the strength and talents of women and girls. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
At times, this is an utterly thrilling sports movie featuring some of the most compelling fictional sports competition scenes in recent memory. Director-writer Nitesh Tiwari creates an unmistakable arc for each character that defies cliché even as Dangal does in some ways adhere to well-worn story conventions. A tough father/coach imposes his will on young, lazy beginners who want to avoid both feeling different from all the other girls and the grueling training imposed on them. But the movie transcends these banalities, partly through the use of well-placed songs with lyrics specific to wrestling and training ("Wrestle, O Wrestler!"), and also through a refusal to make excuses for the father and his harsh ways, even when he finally tells the girls he's proud of them.
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.