A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Caring for friends and relatives. Embracing differences. Allowing people to be themselves. However, this is not always achieved.
Positive Role Models
The main characters are part of a family who love and are loyal to one another. George, the patriarch, is a proud Pakistani who worries about his identity and his children's well-being, but can be intolerant, hypocritical, and has a violent temper. His children try to evade certain aspects of Pakistani and Muslim culture that they dislike, which gives the movie both its comedy and its drama.
Multi-ethnic cast with gender diversity. Some racist sentiments expressed toward British-Pakistani characters as well as racist language and slurs. Portrayals of different religious ceremonies. Female characters challenge 1970s gender norms. More than one language spoken. Gay character shown in positive light for his bravery, which although in some cases could be seen as cliched and tokenism, within the '70s time period manages to avoid such accusations.
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Violence & Scariness
Reference to violent acts. Character repeatedly struck in face. Bleeds from injury. Domestic violence; large bruise on face shown after. Character threatened with knife. Reference to war.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Character shown naked from the waist down from behind. Kissing. Discussion of circumcision played for comic effect. Drawing of penis. Couple interrupted while having sex; bare shoulders but no other nudity. Shirtless, non-sexual nudity. Prosthetic vagina shown for comic effect.
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Language used includes "bloody," "bleeding," "bleeder," "arse," "gobs--te," "f---ing," "bastard," "piss off," "bollocks," "sh--ty," "s--t," and "bitch." "Cow" used as an insult. British swears and slurs include "fanny" (used as term for vagina), "knob," "twat," "slag," and "spaz," which is an offensive slur to the disability community. Racist language includes the slur "Paki."
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Products & Purchases
Character takes pride in certain possessions, including those bought for religious ceremonies.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink at work and to excess. One character vomits from drunkenness. Others abstain from alcohol for religious reasons. Characters smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that East Is East is a superb British dramedy about a British-Pakistani family struggling with their identity in 1970s Britain. Pakistani-born George Khan (Om Puri) wants his British-born, multiracial children to embrace his traditional cultural and religious values. But several of them, including Tariq (Jimi Mistry), express disdain for Muslim and Pakistani customs because they identify as British. There are a couple of scenes of domestic violence, one that causes bloody injury and another that causes facial bruising. Swearing is constant but mostly lighthearted, with "bloody" and "bastard" the most used terms. However, there are racial slurs including "Paki," the term "spaz," which is highly offensive to the disabled community, and some variants of "f--k" and "s--t." Sex and genitalia are both referenced, but there is only one, non-graphic sex scene between a couple in bed and two scenes of male nudity, both played for comic effect. In keeping with the 1970s setting, characters are often shown smoking. In one scene, characters drink to excess in a nightclub and are shown to be intoxicated. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A landmark in late 20th-century British cinema, this comedy-drama connected with audiences who recognized both its racial tensions as well as the comedic battles fought by the family at its center. Although East Is East is an ensemble piece, it is Puri's performance as George Khan that powers the plot. His increasingly desperate attempts to raise a family who embody his own, idealized values has both funny and tragic consequences.
Adapted by Ayub Khan-Din's from his hit stage play of the same name, the film deftly weaves in period details, such as the Bangladesh Liberation War and the rise of controversial MP Enoch Powell, who opposed mass immigration, to provide an authentic backdrop. But even without knowledge of these events, the Khan children's struggles to fit in are obvious, with some faring better than others along the way. All the while, Ella, their White, British mother, deftly brought to life by Bassett, straddles the divide with them. The movie doesn't let its characters off the hook or reach for easy answers, but the resilience they show makes them both familiar and unique.
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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.
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