For Real

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
For Real Movie Poster Image
Deeply felt but heavy family melodrama has mature themes.
  • NR
  • 2013
  • 86 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

In a way, the movie shows how young children can choose to cope with big problems and how adults can help by opening up conversation.

 

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the characters are suffering in some way, and none behaves very heroically or in ways to be emulated.

 

Violence

A mother and father argue frequently, sometimes shouting and generally raising the level of tension in the household. Most of the characters buckle under the pressure and snap at one another at some point. There are a few brief, scary flashbacks and nightmares of unexplained scenes and disconnected flashes -- for example, people who seem to be in pain -- that can seem violent or scary. It's implied that one character has attempted suicide. A woman is in such emotional agony that she's shown hitting herself.

Sex

The movie involves a married couple that has two kids but who have fallen on hard times. There's nothing shown, but it's implied that they were once a loving couple. In a flashback, the woman is shown singing and dancing seductively on a stage, with her future husband admiring her from the audience. Another man makes an attempt to kiss her when she's emotionally vulnerable.

Language

Words include "ass," "hell," and "bastard." The kids call each other "stupid" and "idiot."

 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some liquor is shown in the background, but no one is seen drinking.

 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Get Real is a melodrama produced in India and spoken in English. It depicts some very realistic and painful emotions when a family goes through terrible times, and the mother and father fight and split up. There's lots of tension and arguing, as well as some very brief and sometimes scary flashbacks and nightmare sequences that seem to depict people in pain. There's a suggestion of a suicide attempt and a woman hitting herself out of sheer agony. A woman sings seductively on stage, a couple is shown to have been in a sexual relationship (though nothing is shown), and a man attempts to kiss a married woman. Language is mild but includes "ass," "hell," and "bastard" as well as kids calling each other "stupid" and "idiot." Even though this movie takes place mostly from the point of view of a young girl, the subject matter is very grown-up and would be upsetting for younger viewers.

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What's the story?

While waiting at the train station, 6-year-old Shruti (Zoya Siddiqi Hassan) wonders why her mother has suddenly gone away for six whole days. Her older brother Paras (Sriharsh Sharma) informs her that aliens, who can take the form of humans, are among them. When her mother, Priya (Sarita Choudhary), arrives sporting a new haircut, Shruti decides that it's not her mother but rather an alien from the Orion Galaxy. She begins avoiding her, not eating her food, and trying to figure out how to rescue her "real" mother. In reality, Priya and her husband, Ravi (Adil Hussain), are on the verge of splitting up; Ravi, a doctor, works too much and Priya gave up her promising singing career. Will Shruti be able to deal with the truth?

Is it any good?

This movie is unflinching and realistic. NYU-educated director Sona Jain has made a rare English-language Indian film, struggling for years to raise the funds and get the film produced. She landed an excellent cast, including two talented child actors as well as the lovely Sarita Choudhary, known in the U.S. for her roles in Mississippi Masala (1991) and Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996). It's hard not to admire her effort.

However, she has taken on some very difficult, delicate material, and her hand is often a bit too heavy to make it effective. Too much information about the husband and wife is withheld for too long -- and introduced gradually through mysterious and disturbing flashbacks -- so they earn very little sympathy. And approaching the story through the eyes of a child probably requires something a bit less disturbing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the realistic portrayal of a disintegrating marriage. How is it portrayed on-screen? Do the characters earn sympathy or scorn?

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  • Have you ever chosen to accept an imaginary scenario rather than face something that was too painful in real life?

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  • How high is the tension in the movie? Did you feel anxious while watching? How did the filmmaker achieve this feeling?

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  • Would you consider the older-brother character a bully?

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Movie details

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