Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

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Parents' Guide to


By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Mature family drama has strong language, drinking.

Movie NR 2020 90 minutes
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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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You could call DNA a meditation on heritage and a woman's longing to connect to her roots. But there's nothing meditative about this jumble of long-festering family anger and chaos. The movie never bothers to tell us anything about the main character, nothing that could help us connect her seemingly passionate longings to the reality of the life she's lived. The camera spends a lot of time on actors arguing and yelling, conflicts seemingly based on ancient interpersonal grievances about which we are told nothing. Neige has a love-hate relationship with a mother who is as cruel and difficult as Neige herself. The filmmaker mentions but doesn't explore. She doesn't answer the questions she raises -- including an unexplored eating disorder, a penchant for over-consumption of alcohol, and the seeming abandonment of her young children as they disappear from the partly autobiographical story of a self involved woman.

Why does she need to know what percent of her genes are "Algerian," as if genes were, in fact, nationality-based? What moves her to violently attack her father to retrieve his saliva for further testing? She might have her reasons for this, but doesn't share them, making her seem even less likable and more self absorbed than before. This film aims to take us on a journey, but it starts from nowhere that we can grasp, goes nowhere we can recognize, and explains nothing.

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