A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Success takes a lot of hard work, but also expert guidance so athletes know what to do and how to eat and gain confidence through mental and physical strength. Many people in India believe women don't belong on the playing field or in the workplace -- that they should stay in the home. Asks questions about media pressure and Olympic achievement when Deepika feels that people don't respect her despite her many other medals and achievements; it's all about Olympic gold.
Positive Role Models
Deepika Kumari defies gender stereotypes, proves women are strong and more than capable of great athletic achievement. She prefers to respond to naysayers with actions, not words. She models hard work, inspires young women, and advocates for change. Her mother defies stereotypes by working outside the home, enduring hardships like being beaten because of it. Deepika grew up emotionally closer to her father because of her mother's long working hours; they model affectionate teasing. Both parents very supportive, doing what they can for Deepika in difficult economic circumstances.
Violence & Scariness
A man smilingly admits that he used to beat his sister because she works outside the home and says it's no big deal.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ladies First is a short documentary about Deepika Kumari, a young woman who overcame extreme poverty to become the top-ranked female archer in the world -- and India's best hope for Olympic gold. She's a great role model for overcoming gender stereotypes and negative messages and becoming an accomplished athlete on the world stage. Positive messages focus on working hard to achieve your goals and finding a way to go on after defeat and disappointment. Cautionary themes, on the other hand, include the lack of support that woman athletes in India receive and whether, as a country, it can achieve all that it might without devoting some resources to supporting young women's efforts. Cultural insights into Deepika's background, ingrained social sexism, and India's women's archery program provide educational value. Although there's no content of concern for little ones, Kumari's story may not hold younger kids' attention. The only violence is a man who smilingly admits that he used to beat his sister for working outside the home. In English and Hindi with dubbing. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This short-form documentary about India's best hope for Olympic gold at the Rio games is as inspiring as it is sobering. Ladies First isn't a feel-good story of triumph in the face of overwhelming odds. It doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of Deepika Kumari's background, or from taking India's leadership to task for the way in which aspiring female athletes are given short shrift. Western viewers may be surprised by the pervasive sexist attitudes that remain in parts of a country that beat the U.S. to a female head of state by over 50 years and counting.
Deepika herself is engaging, relatable, and easy to root for -- a genuine role model for anyone with aspirations in the face of tough odds. Her accomplishments are truly remarkable, and her story is far from over. Families will find a lot to admire about a young woman who shows what it takes to excel and to keep going after disappointments and setbacks, and who's willing to give it everything she's got.
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.