A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Accept yourself as you are instead of comparing yourself to impossible beauty standards set by Photoshopped pictures of models displayed in magazines and advertising. Women aren't just ornaments to be admired.
Positive Role Models
Taryn wants her young daughter to be happy and healthy and to love her body, no matter what that body might look like. A woman with a hormonal disorder has a full beard and proudly calls herself "beautiful." Women talk about self-loathing brought on by self-criticism about their less-than-perfect bodies.
Violence & Scariness
A high percentage of women in Iran have nose jobs. Many people have their looks surgically altered. A plastic surgeon examines the director's unclothed body and suggests numerous surgical "remedies" to her body "flaws." A model reports that even high-fashion models seen in magazines are Photoshopped to look more impossibly perfect, concluding that even the models don't look like their own photos. She adds that most models nearly starve themselves to maintain their thin frames, some eating cotton balls to simulate a full feeling.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Taryn's breasts are examined and critiqued on-screen by a plastic surgeon suggesting surgical improvements. A photographic array of vulvas is shown on-screen to demonstrate how different the same body part can look on different people, vastly broadening notions of what falls into the realm of "normal."
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"F--k," "s--t," "boob."
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Products & Purchases
Magazines, movies, television shows, and advertising all promote a narrow version of what qualifies as female beauty to sell products.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Embrace is a frank documentary by Australian photographer Taryn Brumfitt that's inspired by her own body image and self-acceptance issues. After the birth of her third child, she posted before-and-after photos on social media. The "before" photo was of a trim and muscular bikini-ed self, taken at a bodybuilding competition. It was in contrast to the "after," showing much of her unclothed, now heavier and softer body. The pair went viral and prompted her to talk to a variety of women about the socially burdensome standards for female beauty set by fashion magazines, movies, and television. Heavy, disabled, bearded, and average-weight women talk about learning to love themselves just as they are. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "boob," and naked breasts and genitalia are shown to broaden perception regarding what is both "beautiful" and "normal." Watch with your teens; there's plenty here to generate thoughtful discussion. 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 is a lovely, heartfelt film made by a mother exploring her own unforgiving self-image in the hope that her exploration will help her daughter avoid such harsh self-judgment. Director Brumfitt is a joy, an Australian national treasure, whose buoyancy and spirit could lift anyone out of the blues. Her adventurousness, empathetic interview style, and energy and enthusiasm bring out the best in her subjects, some of whom candidly describe shame and fear about not being good enough. Others share their own joy, having worked their way toward self-acceptance. Many interviewees repeat that there are so many more important things to worry about than the way we look. It would be difficult to imagine watching Embrace and not feeling better -- about people and the world -- in general.
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.