India's Daughter

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
India's Daughter Movie Poster Image
Revealing, painful look at women's, girls' rights in India.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 63 minutes

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Positive Messages

Jyoti Singh's brutal fate won't be hidden in the dark, not when the people have finally had enough and speak up. Sadly, the protests won't bring her back, but they ensure that her death -- and the rape and beating that led to it -- isn't forgotten. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jyoti's parents' willingness to discuss these very painful events is both courageous and admirable. 


Though viewers don't see the actual attack and rape of Jyoti, it's described in excruciating detail -- an unflinching exploration that's necessary for the documentary to make its impact but may be difficult for viewers to process. Her parents' grief is palpable, and the camera makes it clear how deeply the pain reaches. The discussions about women's safety in India are also necessarily frank, and the ignorance with which the topic is dismissed may be upsetting.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that India's Daughter is an important documentary that takes an honest look at the plight of women, especially girls, in India, framing the topic with the tragic story of one young woman, Jyoti Singh, who was raped and beaten to death on a bus. Her assault isn't shown, but it's discussed in excruciating detail; the film's frank, open, painful conversations about women's safety, children's rights, and the bleakness of the future for some Indian families are too intense for younger viewers. Filmmakers go into people's homes; some of what viewers see and hear there (poverty, conversations about Jyoti's fate, etc.) may also be hard to watch.

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What's the story?

In 2012, 23-year-old medical student Jyoti Singh was raped and beaten to death on a bus in Delhi. The heinous crime sparked protests and soul-searching in India about how girls and women are treated, what led to six men brutally murdering her, and the societal inequities that made it possible. This documentary by filmmaker Leslee Udwin explores the events leading up to and taking place just after Singh's death, featuring interviews with both her family and with experts in India and around the world who offer insight into the forces that have shaped India's treatment of women. 

Is it any good?

You'll need a strong stomach to watch INDIA'S DAUGHTER -- not because it's graphic, although there are some scenes that might make you flinch -- but because it's so honest. It will haunt you long after the headlines have subsided and the credits have rolled. Udwin doesn't shy away from confronting the harsh truths that Indian citizens have had to face since Singh's rape and murder, taking viewers through the soul-searching that takes place. This film is required viewing for anyone concerned about the plight of young girls and women around the world who are yearning for equality. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the goal of India's Daughter. What's the movie's ultimate message? What do you think it's hoping to accomplish? Should documentaries be objective, or is it OK if they have a specific purpose in mind?

  • The film looks at how poverty leads to violence. How does it show this connection? What's the takeaway? When it comes to examining social issues like inequality, sexism, and poverty, what role do documentary filmmakers play?

  • Which has more impact on you -- hearing a story like Jyoti's, which includes violent moments, or seeing violent scenes in an action movie? Why?

Movie details

  • In theaters: October 23, 2015
  • On DVD or streaming: March 5, 2015
  • Director: Leslee Udwin
  • Studio: Paladin
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Run time: 63 minutes
  • MPAA rating: NR
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

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