A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In GIRL, POSITIVE, an unsuspecting teen faces the reality of HIV. Rachel Sandler (Andrea Bowen of Desperate Housewives) is a popular high school senior with a bright future. But when word spreads in her quiet community that the all-around golden boy at her school (who died in a car accident) was using intravenous drugs, Rachel receives a mysterious email claiming that he was HIV-positive. She realizes she is also at risk since they had a one-night-stand -- and didn't use a condom. The story follows Rachel as she discovers she has HIV; is befriended by her teacher, Sarah Bennett (Jennie Garth of Beverly Hills, 90210), who has been living with the virus for years; and finally confides in her boyfriend, Greg (Evan Gamble), whose shock turns to anger and then blame. As rumors start circulating, Rachel must face the consequences of her bad judgment.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about teens and sex. Teens: How does this movie compare to your own experiences? Are the characters and subject matter relatable? What parts seemed less realistic?
Do you and your friends talk about sex the way the kids in the movie do? Is there pressure to have sex as a teenager? Where does that pressure come from?
What messages does the media send about sex and sexuality?
Parents can also encourage a frank discussion about sex, STDs, and methods of protection.
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