A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Evil Eye is a supernatural tale wedged inside a seemingly routine story about an East Asian mother trying to arrange an Indian marriage for her more modern, American daughter. Mom can't shake a sense that her daughter's too-good-to-be-true new boyfriend is really the reincarnation of a man who physically abused the mom decades back. How do you warn your kid to act on what sounds like superstitious craziness? Language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch." Violence from the past leads to present-day violence. A stalker attacks a former girlfriend, slams her head against concrete, and is then killed himself. A man stabs someone and is hit on the head with a cast iron pot. Someone throws chili powder in a man's eyes. A couple discuss the fact that they're sleeping together.
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What's the story?
The EVIL EYE may just be a lot of superstitious nonsense, but Usha (Sarita Choudhury of Little Fires Everywhere and Homeland) believes in it deeply ever since she had to kill an ex-boyfriend who was attacking her on a bridge in Delhi. She's certain he's cursed Pallu (Sunita Mani), the daughter she was carrying in her womb at the moment of the attack. Now, 29 years later, Pallu, living a world away in New Orleans, is trying to find a nice Indian guy so her mother will stop sending her on blind dates with other nice Indian men from "good" families. When Pallu starts dating Sundeep (Omar Maskati), Usha worries the romance is proceeding too quickly. She sends a detective to check him out. Things don't add up. When Usha finally talks to her daughter's prospective fiancé, he reveals that he's indeed the controlling, violent man Usha broke up with years before. Can Usha convince Pallu that she's marrying a nasty, reincarnated dead man before it's too late?
Is it any good?
Sarita Choudhury is a gift to any movie, so it's the good fortune of this film to have her talent and charm offset the downright silliness of its plot. When the plot unfurls, it boils down to the unlikely outcome that a guy in his 20s wants to have the woman, now near her 60s, who jilted him decades before when he was someone else. So why does he need to marry Usha's daughter? Why does he tell Usha that if she tries to interfere, he'll kill Pallu? When the young handsome Sandeep finally meets up with 60ish Usha and tells her that he's lured her by using the daughter, all because he wants Usha "forever," the story just falls apart. At least Rosemary's Baby, with the devil playing a role, made sense internally. Evil Eye even suggests that as one bad man expires his evil soul enters a newborn's body to do further mischief decades in the future. Teens can find much better scares and thrills elsewhere.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how cultural traditions can cause strife in families as kids choose not to honor those traditions. Do you think Pallu fell for the wrong guy partly because she felt guilty about ignoring traditions? Why?
What do you think of the practice of arranged marriages? Do you think it’s a good idea for people of similar religions and ethnic backgrounds to marry within those communities? What are the arguments for and against?
How successfully did Evil Eye mix the real issue of parents pushing young adults to marry with the supernatural world of reincarnation and revenge after death?
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