A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that one of the main canine characters of the Indonesian film June & Kopi dies in an emotional finale. She sacrifices her own life in order to save her humans, suffering a fatal and bloody wound. It's the culmination of a potentially frightening episode where a little girl wanders into the woods and gets lost, cutting her knee and getting progressively weaker due to asthma. This sequence is the most dramatic of the film, which otherwise plays as mostly comedy and a lighthearted tale of the loyalty and intelligence of a stray dog taken in by a young family happily expecting a child after a previous miscarriage. There are some traditional gender roles in the family, and the wife seems to need her husband's permission on major decisions. She's surprised one day when he offers to cook a meal. It's possible to read these scenes, and others where just about every person on the street seems seriously scared of dogs, as specific to the Indonesian setting. The film conveys the benefits and joys of having a dog, and there are lots of cute scenes of dogs doing unexpected things. End credits suggest against buying and selling dogs but supporting rescue pets instead. The movie is subtitled, so it's best for kids who are comfortable reading them.
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What's the story?
One day, at the start of JUNE & KOPI, a stray dog follows illustrator Aya (Acha Septriasa) home. The dog is scared of most people, especially kids, but she quickly attaches herself to Aya, much to the chagrin of Aya's husband, Ale (Ryan Delon). Ale has his own, perfectly-trained dog, Kopi, and at first won't let the new dog, which Aya names June, into the house. June persists and proves her loyalty to Aya, even detecting she's pregnant before anyone else knows. When their daughter Karin (Makayla Rose Hilli) is born, Ale again pushes June outside, fearing she'll harm the new baby. And, again, June proves her loyalty and becomes Karin's faithful sidekick. When the family leaves the dogs behind for a vacation, June and Kopi escape and follow them into the mountains. Will the doggy duo make it there in time to help Karin, who has gotten lost in the woods?
Is it any good?
This well-intentioned film offers a relatively easy entrée for kids interested in exploring other cultures through the movies. The Indonesian-set, dog-centered June & Kopi is reminiscent of lots of American pet pictures, yet there are also some location-specific aspects to the characters, setting, and story that could spark conversation as well as curiosity, assuming kids are willing to read subtitles.
The film's sad ending comes as a bit of a surprise after a mostly lighthearted and at times even goofy story, though there are other dramatic elements throughout, including reference to a past miscarriage and the daughter's asthma diagnosis. The film has a few awkward moments, like comedic or dramatic pauses that last a beat too long, or music that overstates the mood in some scenes. Make sure to stay for the fun, illustrated end credits, which imagine Kopi in all manner of transportation devices. Drawn or real, the dogs steal this show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the title canines in June & Kopi make their way to the mountain villa. Have you heard of real-life stories of dogs traveling long distances to find their owners? How is this possible?
What did you think of the ending of this film?
People on the Indonesian streets in the film are scared of dogs. Did this reaction surprise you? Why or why not?
Why do you think the film recommends against buying and selling dogs and supports rescuing them instead?
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