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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Some teen characters are described as promiscuous, and most dismiss their susceptibility to the dangers of HIV and harshly judge those infected with it, implying that they've brought it upon themselves with their lifestyle. But overall the movie works hard to dispel many of the stereotypes associated with HIV.
Violence & Scariness
In one scene, a girl gets a bloody nose when a soccer ball hits her in the face. Blood is also drawn during HIV tests.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Given the movie's storyline, sex is one of its biggest issues/topics. Teen characters talk openly about their sexual habits, including how many partners they've had, whether they practice safe sex, and -- from both guys and girls -- how much they enjoy and desire it. On the physical side, there's just about everything except nudity -- teens kiss, make out, simulate sex (there's one brief scene, which is mostly obscured by bedding), and have pre-intercourse discussions about whether a condom is necessary or if "pulling out" will do.
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Products & Purchases
Cell phones, text messaging, blogs, and MySpace.com are a big part of how these teens communicate with each other and are central to the plot.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Party scenes show teens drinking (presumably beer), and although it's not attributed to drunkenness, a subsequent car accident kills one of the partygoers. A male teen is seen shooting heroin, a young woman takes birth control pills, and an HIV patient downs multiple medications as part of her daily routine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this made-for-TV movie takes a frank look at teen sexuality. The young characters all discuss promiscuity, unsafe sex, drug use, and their assumed invincibility to STDs at length -- as well as their belief that parents are more judgmental than understanding. (Teen viewers might not be surprised by the characters' active sex lives, but parents could be -- consider this a wake-up call!) The movie works to dispel common myths associated with HIV, including how it is (and isn't) contracted, who's at risk, and how much exposure is required to infect a person. Teens drink, use drugs, text- and instant-message each other constantly, and get pretty intimate (though the movie stops short of nudity), but there's no language or violence to speak of. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Girl, Positive is an eye-opening look at the image-driven nature of teen life, where sexuality is a big part of popularity. Throughout the movie, one of the students gathers video clips for a school blog; these one-on-one conversations reflect the sense of invincibility and lack of knowledge that many teens have about STDs in general -- and HIV in particular. They talk openly about hooking up with multiple partners, the physical drawbacks of using a condom, and the fact that most of them have never had honest discussions about sex with their parents. The movie works hard to dispel misconceptions about HIV: "It won't happen to me," "That's a disease for gays," and "I had unprotected sex, but only one time."
You may find your teens balking at the idea of watching a movie like this with you, but Girl, Positive is so well done that it's worth the time, and hopefully will generate a frank discussion about the decision to have sex and the importance of protecting yourself.
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.