Girlhood

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Girlhood Movie Poster Image
French film offers bleak, affecting look at troubled teen.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 112 minutes

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Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The French class structure limits Marieme's options. It's hard for her to feel optimistic when she can see no future for herself, and it's easy to see why she joins a gang and starts acting like a thug.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Marieme starts off as a caring older sister who helps raise her younger siblings, but as she becomes more involved in a gang, she spends less time with her family. She also starts stealing, extorts lunch money from her classmates, and takes a job as a courier for a drug dealer.

Violence

Two scenes show girls in brutal fist fights. An older brother harasses his younger siblings, slapping and even punching them. A teenage girl slaps her younger sister during a heated argument. Gangs of girls yell and taunt each other, threatening physical violence.

Sex

A few scenes show teens kissing and starting to caress each other. One shows a man's nude backside, and the girl is shown from behind, starting to undress. Some of the dialogue includes innuendo.

Language

Some swearing, in French, translated in subtitles as "f--k," "bitch," "bulls--t," and "skank."

Consumerism

Teens compare their mobile phones. Some are shown using iPhones, and one person talks about a specific Samsung Galaxy model. Teenage girls covet expensive clothing.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A teen girl gets a job delivering drugs. Some characters are shown smoking cigarettes and drinking at parties.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the French movie Girlhood is a bleak but affecting look at life in the housing projects outside Paris, where young people have few options and little chance to improve their lives. The main character joins a girls' gang and is soon stealing, extorting money from classmates, and beating up members of rival gangs. There are a few surprisingly violent scenes, some kissing and innuendo (as well as a glimpse of a naked male backside), and frequent swearing (in French), including words that are translated in the subtitles as "f--k," "bitch," "s--t," and "skank."

User Reviews

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There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 17 years old Written byelizabethelliott3 September 8, 2018

Great Movie

It is great if you want to watch it a few times, if you are learning french it is perfect because you can hear a form of dialect called Verlan that they use. It... Continue reading

What's the story?

Marieme (Karidja Toure) is looking for a way out of the working-class Paris suburb where she's stuck helping raise her younger siblings while their mom works all hours. She's hoping to go to high school, but is told that her so-so grades mean vocational school is the only option, a path that offers few prospects for a better life. Frustrated with her limited options, Marieme joins a gang of girls, where she's rechristened Vic (for "victory") and starts to recreate her identity. Soon, she's extorting cash from her classmates, shoplifting high-end clothes, beating up girls from rival gangs, and abandoning her siblings. It's a bleak, realistic, look at life on the lower end of the economic scale.

Is it any good?

With GIRLHOOD, director Celine Sciamma delivers a tour-de-force movie that will haunt you for ages. Not only are the performances (led by Toure's) incredibly moving, but the story itself, told in a stripped manner devoid of the annoying overproduction that plagues plenty of other movies, lays bare what happens when someone so young sees doors close to her before she has even begun to discover her potential. That Toure isn't a seasoned actress is both surprising and totally believable; her Marieme is authentic because the role, as Toure defines her, isn't overwrought or polished. She's simply true. Prepare to have your hopes frustrated and your heart broken.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Marieme's life. Why do you think she joins a gang? What does it offer her that she doesn't already have in her life? What do you think you might do in her place?

  • What message do you think Girlhood is trying to convey? Is it trying to reach a specific audience?

  • How does Marieme's relationship with her family change as she becomes more involved with the gang? Do the changes seem realistic? Do you think they're irreversible?

  • What role do drugs play in Marieme's life?

Movie details

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