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Parents' Guide to


By Lynnette Nicholas, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Poetic coming-of-age tale tackles religion, youth with care.

Movie R 2019 94 minutes
Hala Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 13+

Age rating should be higher than Apple’s

We watched this with our 13yr old daughter due to Apple’s “12” rating. However this movie should be classified slightly higher. It’s a great story and deals with youth, sexuality and religion well. I like how Apple TV+ content pushes more of the immigrant angle in their storytelling.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 18+


Couldn’t get through the first episode since I’m not a pedophile that enjoys watching a high school girl pleasure herself.

This title has:

Too much sex

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (1 ):

This drama handles a teen girl's coming to terms with her budding sexuality and her strong religious beliefs with great care. Hala is soft in the places that it needs to be, it's well written, and it handles the intersection of religion, youth, and life lessons beautifully. The movie's tone is soft, poetic, earthy, and powerful. Under the direction of Minhal Baig, the film seamlessly shows many different points of view around the big topics of religion, marriage, tradition, and personal growth. The on-screen chemistry between Viswanathan and Jack Kilmer (as Hala's love interest, Jesse) is so mesmerizing and pure that it will make just about anyone reminiscence about their first love or intimate experience. Gabriel Luna gives an honest, believable performance as Hala's teacher, Mr. Lawrence, and Taylor Marie Blim -- playing Hala's friend Melanie -- emanates a trustworthiness that makes the girls' friendship quite endearing and seemingly genuine. As Hala's parents, Purbi Joshi and Azad Khan deliver solid turns as people struggling to find peace within the norms placed upon them by their traditions and cultural and religious beliefs. An emphasis on literature and the written word (as well as the spoken word) includes references to the works of Langston Hughes, Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, and more. Many scenes take place in a writing class, and the power of releasing words verbally -- as well as putting pen to paper -- is a theme.

Many moments and themes within the movie encourage introspection and critical thinking about love, life, and identity. Through the character of Hala, viewers see the intersection of having both conviction and religion -- and how sometimes faith and religion can be in conflict with other desires. Through the dynamic of Hala's parents' marriage, viewers see the positive and negative consequences of tradition, as well as the often unfair responsibilities and ideals that are associated with gender roles. Hala is effective in conveying the message that you can follow a belief system that's at war with how you truly feel in your heart. The story gives a dignified young woman who happens to truly believe in Allah the space to fall short, be flawed, and still pick up the pieces of her life and evolve.

Movie Details

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