A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Despite her impoverished origins, Waris Dirie manages to become a world-famous model. Her difficult journey would likely have had a very different ending if not for her determination, drive, and a decent amount of good luck.
Positive Role Models
Some characters respond to a foreign woman with condescension and insults. But she refuses to let their feeling affect her own and manages to rise above -- very far above -- her humble roots.
Violence & Scariness
A woman discusses her experience with genital mutilation. In flashbacks, a young girl is shown being sold to an old man as his fourth wife; later, a man attempts to rape her. A man menaces his wife. A young girl endures genital mutilation in a harrowing scene; the actual act isn't seen, but the girl’s face and her screams, as well as the blood on the midwife’s hands, tell the story.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Prostitutes are seen loitering on the streets. Women walk around in their towels in the shower (quick glimpses of their backsides). A couple is glimpsed having sex (the woman is seen astride the man, her back bare). A model is asked to pose nude and is seen from behind. She kisses another model during the photo shoot.
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“Suck,” “s--t,” and “f--k.”
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Products & Purchases
Signage for McDonald’s.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking in a nightclub. A man gets drunk at home and bickers with his wife.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this biopic about Waris Dirie -- who was born into a Somalian desert tribe, then ran away from an arranged marriage as a young teen and made her way to London, where she became a world-famous supermodel -- deals with mature themes and subject matter, though in a dignified manner. Of particular note is the film's focus on female genital mutilation, a common ritual in east Africa that Dirie endured as a young child; the mutilation isn't shown on screen, but there are screams and blood. Expect some drinking and swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t"), and some violent moments (including attempted rape). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Desert Flower is an important movie, but not a great one. Dirie's life-story is inspiring, her experiences as young girl are tragic, and her ability to speak out against a custom that has long been hidden is impressive. But the movie feels like a string of scenes stitched together, and they sometimes lack narrative structure. The film certainly has an important message, but it tries too hard to make its point. Although we feel for the character because of what she's done, that's despite of the way her story is told rather than because of it.
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.