Foreign Letters



Subtitled coming-of-age drama explores girl friendship.
  • Review Date: August 22, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Foreign Letters offers positive messages about curiosity, acceptance, friendship, and diversity.

Positive role models

The characters are very realistic and relatable. The main girl characters are realistically flawed in depictions of their innocence and capacity for nuance. 

Not applicable

Very minor, innocuous discussions of liking boys and wanting to date them.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In one scene, a man smokes a cigarette at a family gathering.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Foreign Letters is a largely subtitled coming-of-age drama, so it's best-suited for kids who are good readers, and who have the attention span for a nuanced family drama. There's some very minor, innocuous discussions of liking boys and wanting to date them, but no iffy content.

Parents say

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What's the story?

Israeli girl Ellie's (Noa Rotstein) experience as a newcomer to America is difficult until she meets Thuy (Dalene Le), a Vietnamese immigrant in her class who shows her the ropes and quickly becomes her best friend. But Thuy's secrets test the limits of their friendship, and illuminate the importance of human connection.

Is it any good?


FOREIGN LETTERS is a beautifully executed, nuanced, and thoughtful exploration of the immigrant experience told through the friendship of 6th grade girls. It's quiet and funny, and shows the quirks of American culture through fresh eyes, while also addressing the complex challenges of cultural and socioeconomic differences. In spite of the specificity of these cultural narratives, the film tells a powerful, universal story about friendship.

Kids who are old enough to read subtitles and have the patience for a multicultural family yarn will enjoy the universal aspects of the featured friendship, from their crushes on boys to prank calls to secret codes. Parents can appreciate that the depictions of these cultural identities are handled with sensitivity and grace, and a refreshing realism not often seen in stories about young girls. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about feeling different. Have you ever felt different because of your family or appearance? How were you treated? How did it make you feel?

  • America prides itself on being a melting pot for different cultures, but the film explores the difficulty these young girls face in blending in. How can Americans help people from other cultures feel welcome here?

  • Have you ever had a falling out with a friend? Were you able to work through it? What happened?

Movie details

DVD release date:August 7, 2012
Cast:Dalena Le, Daniel Bahr, Noa Rotstein
Director:Ela Thier
Studio:Film Movement
Topics:Friendship, Great girl role models
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old May 11, 2014


very fun, movie about isreali religion.
What other families should know
Great role models


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