Parents' Guide to

One Take

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Girls compete to make pop group in tedious docu.

Movie NR 2020 85 minutes
One Take Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

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Fans of the Thai girl group BNK48 will probably welcome One Take, this long, tedious insider look at the hierarchy within the singing, dancing, costumed world of these young women. Others may find it disturbing. All will wonder why a filmmaker would waste so much time interviewing girls who all have exactly the same cliched, uninformative things to say: competition is difficult, and you can only do your best. "I didn't do a good enough job," laments one. "I blame myself," says another. "To be an idol, you have to be determined." "People should always set a high bar for themselves."

This movie describes a full-blown BNK48 culture with customs and habits and taboos, and many will wonder how it all works throughout a documentary that does little to explain. What is the "first 6th Single Senbatsu General Election," for example? How can something be both first and 6th? What does "Senbatsu" mean? What is an "undergirl"? Viewers with stamina may stay with this film long enough to figure out the answers on their own, but there is no actual payoff for that patience. It takes a full hour for the film to hint that winning the election doesn't reflect talent, because fans can vote as many times as they like as long as they pay per vote. In this male-run empire, young, pretty girls are commodities pressed to promote personas foreign to them. "I am actually just a bubbly kid, not the sexy grown woman they think I am," one explains." Although they all voluntarily participate in what one calls a "brutal" system, perhaps they see it as a way out of poverty, but that's not discussed here. This seems like recruiting propaganda designed to entice innocent girls. An informative documentary could be made about BNK48, but this is not it.

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