By Stefan Pape,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Uplifting sports drama champions teamwork and self-belief.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids will learn about the sport of rugby, as well as some aspects of Indian and British culture. The film is also hugely educational when it comes to teaching youngsters about working as a team and believing in themselves.
The film thrives in the idea of never giving up, believing in yourself, defying the odds, and surpassing expectations. The team are also of the mindset that winning is not everything, and doing themselves proud is all that matters. They are also taught that bad actions have repercussions, as one of the best players is dropped on account of misbehavior.
Positive Role Models
Rudra exhibits good coaching, and is a role model to the young team, though he too is flawed and makes mistakes along the way. But he and Paul Walsh put their faith and effort in helping those from marginalized society. The kids, stricken by poverty, are generous -- one child is seen giving his food away to his siblings. When the team arrive in Wales, the locals are accommodating and invite the players into their lives and into their homes. Roshni is the team's female physio who becomes an integral part of the team. Despite this, she is on occasion, portrayed with a patronizing tone as though it's a surprise that she is so well informed and good at her job.
Given the setting, the cast is predominantly made up of Indian actors. Also given the story is about a boys sports team, the cast is mostly male, though the female physio has an important role. However, she is occasionally depicted in a patronizing manner. The team is made up exclusively of kids from historically marginalized and under-resourced backgrounds, some of whom are orphans.
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Violence & Scariness
Kids have on-pitch scuffles during rugby games, largely just pushing and shoving. The team have another heated disagreement later on in the dressing room. The kids can be a little mean to their new coach at the start, putting insects into their room at night.
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The kids are called "morons" in one scene.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Young adults are seen drinking what appears to be beer from a can at a party. Two adults go out for a drink later on and order wine at a bar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jungle Cry is a sports drama based on a true story with valuable lessons about teamwork and always believing in yourself -- even when it comes to achieving the unthinkable. The movie is in both English and Hindi (with English subtitles). When a group of 12 Indian boys, many of whom are orphans and live in poverty, take up rugby -- a sport they had barely heard of -- the odds are stacked against them. Yet with belief and hard work they are able to achieve their goals. The kids are also taught the right lessons; to enjoy themselves and to do themselves proud, irrespective of the result. When the kids travel to the United Kingdom to take part in a rugby tournament, the locals are welcoming, taking the kids into their homes and communities. There is also a female lead, Roshni (Emily Shah), who is the team's physio. While it's positive to have an important woman at the center of the narrative, the film can be a little guilty of highlighting her knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport in a somewhat condescending way. There are some on-field scuffles on the rugby field, but it's fairly tame.
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What's the Story?
JUNGLE CRY is the true story of how 12 under-resourced Indian boys -- born into poverty and some orphaned -- defied the odds and competed in an international rugby tournament in the United Kingdom. Led by coach Rudra (Adhay Deol), and helped along by the team's physio, Roshni (Emily Shah), the team surprise everyone by excelling at a sport they hadn't even heard of before, let alone played.
Is It Any Good?
This is a film that has a comforting familiarity to it, following all the classic beats of an uplifting sports drama. On the one hand that can be somewhat tedious, but on this occasion, given the feel-good factor of the narrative, Jungle Cry plays out exactly as you'd hope. As you might expect from a film dealing with an inspiring story that breeds such positive messages, the narrative does veer into the realms of sentimentality and cinematic cliches. Yet despite this, it's hard not to invest, care, and ultimately root for the kids at the heart of the story.
The film is lacking within the dressing room though. While Deol as coach Rudra and Shah as physio Roshni inject some life into proceedings, it feels like more personality from the team is needed, as so few of those within the side seem to have any true character arcs, or really much to do at all. That said, it's an enjoyable, easy-to-watch film that is hard not to appreciate, and at times, be a little moved by too. Go on the Jungle Cats!
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the positive lessons and messages in Jungle Cry. What did you take away from the movie? What character strengths were on display? How could you apply these traits to your own life?
Discuss the background the kids in the movie were from. Did the fact that the film was based on a true story impact how you felt about it? If so, how?
What did you know of the sport of rugby before watching the film? Would you like to play it? What other sports do you enjoy?
How familiar are you with the country India? Did you learn anything new? Why is it important to learn about different cultures?
- In theaters: May 20, 2022
- On DVD or streaming: June 16, 2022
- Cast: Abhay Deol, Emily Shah, Stewart Wright
- Director: Sagar Ballary
- Studio: Jungle Cry LLC
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Great Boy Role Models
- Character Strengths: Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 117 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 3, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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