A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has very strong language, bathroom scenes, explicit sexual references, including depiction of male and female genitals, sexual situations, and severe wife and child abuse.
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What's the story?
In EAST IS EAST, George (Om Puri), who is Pakistani, marries Ella (Linda Bassett) and they settle down in Manchester to have seven children and run a fish and chips shop. George wants his children to adopt the religion and customs of Pakistan, yet oldest son Nazir objects to an arranged marriage and bolts in the middle of the wedding ceremony, and in all the family chaos, they have neglected to have their youngest son circumcised. With India at war with Pakistan, George's fear of the loss of his homeland and culture makes him even more concerned about passing on that culture to his children. They go to the mosque, grudgingly, but they feel like Brits and only one of the seven kids wants to live according to Pakistani traditions. The others want the freedom of Western culture. They may feel English, but they look Pakistani, and George fears that the culture they want will never accept them. His neighbors support a politician named Enoch Powell who is calling for repatriation of foreigners. But George and the neighbor do not know that their children are romantically involved.
Is it any good?
This award-winning movie is based on the experiences of its author, and the family moments, beautifully performed by the entire cast, have a tragi-comic authenticity. George becomes more rigid. He arranges marriages for two other sons, without consulting his wife. Finally, he becomes abusive, his frustration exploding into violence against his family. When George's rage finally shatters the family's fragile compromises, the movie struggles to recover.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the cultural heritages that are important to them and how they balance that with the pressure to assimilate. They should also talk about how husbands and wives from different backgrounds create a home that respects both of them, and how people sometimes live with compromises that may seem intolerable to others.
- In theaters: April 14, 2000
- On DVD or streaming: September 12, 2000
- Cast: Jimi Mistry, Jordan Routledge, Linda Bassett
- Director: Damien O'Donnell
- Studio: Miramax
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language, sexual content and some domestic violence
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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