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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It's good to be supportive of pregnant women.
Positive Role Models
Deb is straightforward and honest. Silvio lies about anything he thinks might be unpleasant or difficult.
The cast is almost exclusively White. The main character is female.
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Violence & Scariness
A pregnant woman is knocked down while playing basketball. A birth looks like it may be going dangerously wrong. Vaginal tearing and bleeding are discussed. The painful process of childbirth is shown. A woman screams as she pushes. A woman dies in her sleep.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A naked man is seen in profile trying to mount his pregnant girlfriend from behind but he loses his erection. His behind is seen. A clothed man's face is seen while someone gives him oral sex off-screen. A clothed woman is seen from the torso up masturbating. A man recalls his early years being raised by a mother who was a sex worker. A man with a pregnant girlfriend is asked how his erections are. It's suggested that pregnant women want sex but that their male partners can be afraid of hurting them. A reference is made to pornographic "squirt" movies. A man goes to an S&M party. He's tied up by a woman in a leather one-piece catsuit. Others there wear leather straps. A man puts his face on a pregnant woman's bare belly. It looks like they may have sex, but they don't.
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"F--k," "s--t," "ass," "p---y," "c--k" "bastard," "bitch," "damn," "pee," "whore," "sex worker," "hooker," "erection," and "t-t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Although she abstained earlier, in the final days of her pregnancy, Deb drinks alcohol and smokes marijuana, advised by her doula that it won't be harmful to the fetus. "You don't share lungs," he tells her. Deb gets drunk and unsteady on her feet and vomits. Someone takes mushrooms and gets high. Adults drink alcohol and smoke marijuana. Someone asks for cocaine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Doula explores the choices people make regarding pregnancy and giving birth. The story raises issues that might be suitable only for mature teens, including a scene showing a man naked from the back trying to have sex with his pregnant girlfriend and failing. A pregnancy helper suggests it's OK for a pregnant woman to smoke marijuana, drink alcohol, and eat the kind of cheese that some health professionals advise might contain harmful bacteria. Mostly the emphasis is on prioritizing women's choices about how they want to be pregnant and give birth, offering comic views of both traditional hospital births and at-home alternatives. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "p---y," "c--k" "bastard," "bitch," "damn," "pee," "whore," "sex worker," "hooker," "erection," and "t-t." A tense father-to-be goes to an S&M party, takes mushrooms, and gets tied up. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Doula's tone changes often, making it difficult to tell if the filmmakers are aiming for satire, comedy, or drama. Are they mocking catchphrases and woke-ness associated with at-home births and healthy pregnancies? Or are they mocking slavish adherence to belief in the "safety, sterility and security" of hospital births? Chris Pine, a producer on the film, plays an upbeat obstetrician, but he's set up as the epitome of narrow-minded establishment birthing. To hammer home his villainy, he refuses to divulge his C-section rate. Plus, he is given comically werewolfish hairy arms. Adding to the confusion, by story's end, he proves helpful.
Sometimes the action seems caught up in mockery. The buffet at a ritual cremation ceremony seems to offer nothing but different preparations of cabbage. The mourners, whose hands are dyed orange, speak of the nothingness of death while wearing wreaths on their heads, surely signaling that the filmmakers' eyeballs are rolling. Certain characters seem manipulative, even malevolent, but later turn wise and caring. Whatever the movie's intentions, one certainty is that Troian Bellisario is utterly convincing as a woman dealing with mood swings, self-doubt, and fears while also displaying courage, self-assurance, and forgiveness. In other words, she's beautifully human.
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.