A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Family is there for you, through bad times and good, even when you make mistakes or mistreat others. Family and community also help preserve traditions. Immigrants often work harder than others to construct a life in a new country.
Positive Role Models
Mona physically cares for her ailing father despite mistreatment from him when she was a child. She lies to get her way with a married man she's having an affair with. Siblings are tough on each other but ultimately care for each other and help each other through life's challenges.
The main characters are of Punjabi descent. A man in a bar yells "Paki" at them right after they lead a round of the national anthem "Oh, Canada." Family traditions and rituals concerning death are on display, led by an older generation. A gay member of the family has been hiding his sexuality for years because he knows his relatives won't accept it (and some don't, when he does come out). A woman jokes that only "White Ivy League women" can come across as "woke but accessible." A man questions his sister's choice of using the word "bamboozled."
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Violence & Scariness
A woman falls of a bike and suffers a minor wound. An elderly man has cancer, then a stroke, and has to be artificially kept alive while in a coma. Grown siblings recall how their father beat and hit the elder daughter, including one time tying her to a balcony where she suffered frostbite. A man appears to have a panic attack. A woman has a nightmare that involves people crashing through her door to get her. When a person dies, his sons wash his dead body then oversee his cremation.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married man and a woman are having an affair; we see them in bed having sex. She's wearing a shirt, but his bare bottom shows. Two other people's bottoms are shown in other, non-sex-related scenes. Another man's wife is also suspected to be having an affair. A woman talks about "f--king," "drunk sex," and "blowing" a man.
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"F--k," mother--ker," "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "c--t," "bitch," "d--k," "hell," "stupid," "pee," "Jesus," "God."
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Products & Purchases
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink alcohol and one gets drunk. They discuss "weed" and one woman smokes. They joke about selling drugs and "partying."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Donkeyhead is a mature film about grown siblings grappling with their father's impending death and their own unresolved issues with him and each other. The main character has no steady income, is sleeping with a married man, and drinks and smokes. Her father beat her and mistreated her as a child, and she (and her twin brother) are still processing that trauma. One scene shows her and her married friend having sex (we see his bare bottom). In another she gets drunk. In another, she's caught smoking by her "aunties" then shows them her bare bottom and flips them off. The main characters are the kids of Punjabi immigrants in Canada. Family traditions and Sikh customs around death are on display. A gay member of the family has been hiding his sexuality for years because he knows his relatives won't accept it. The siblings are tough on each other but ultimately care for each other and help each other through life's challenges. Language includes "f--k," mother--ker," "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "c--t," "bitch," "d--k," "hell," "stupid," "pee," "Jesus," and "God." 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 Canadian drama set against the Punjabi Sikh immigrant community offers an authentic tale of growing up and facing life's challenges. Donkeyhead writer-director-star Darshi convincingly embodies the main character, whose struggles to overcome childhood trauma and grapple with the responsibilities of adult life impact all of her siblings. The delayed adolescent is a frequented trope that can grate on the nerves of adult viewers who've done their maturing. Darshi imbues Mona with genuine pathos, but despite her very real pain, it's also hard not to empathize with her siblings' frustration with her increasingly childish antics.
As director, Darshi places her characters in noticeably dark, sometimes almost claustrophobic settings, all of which feels symbolic. Likewise, the outdated décor and chronic plumbing blockages of the family home seem to echo Mona's mental and emotional state. The actors playing Mona's siblings all bring something individual to the family mix, especially Lobo as Mona's twin and the family's conflicted prodigal son, Parm. His coming out provides a lesson in blended identity. Grieving relatives constantly buzz around in the background, embodying generational differences as well as the way traditions get carried on and perhaps lose some vitality in immigrant communities. One or two scenes could have been cut to bring Donkeyhead down to a tighter run time. But the film offers many memorable characters and moments and plenty of food for thought about growing up and growing old.
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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.