A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Priceless is a faith-based film about two Mexican sisters who are smuggled into the United States and sold into prostitution to pay off a debt. The human-trafficking subject matter isn't appropriate for young kids, but teens may be able to handle the story, which actually focuses more on the down-on-his luck widower involved in the sisters' story than on the horrors the women face. That said, there are definitely violent scenes. A man is shot and killed at a playground with kids nearby, James punches people and knocks a man out with a fire extinguisher, and Antonia is shoved around and forced to have sex (off camera) with her trafficker while her sister sits outside the door and cries. There are clear themes of compassion, courage, and empathy, as well as many references to a higher power and giving yourself over to God.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In PRICELESS, James (Joel Smallbone), an unemployed widower, hits rock bottom after his daughter is taken away from him. He agrees to drive a van full of "cargo" to earn money to get her back. But the cargo -- two scared young women who agree to make the dangerous journey across the border to pay off their father's debt -- isn't as easy to unload as he expects it to be. Once he gives Antonia (Bianca A. Santos) and Maria (Amber Midthunder) over to a human trafficker, James realizes he must figure out how to save them -- and himself.
Is it any good?
This faith-based drama isn't particularly subtle. James is searching for some meaning in life after his wife dies and his daughter is taken away from him. He drinks too much, gets in too many fights with strangers, and takes a job that he knows is against the law. Antonia, the beautiful young woman who's forced into prostitution, wears a cross and says she'll pray for James because she knows they aren't alone in the universe. There are many religious metaphors and references (as well as stereotypes), and you can see where the plot is going from a mile away.
That said, Priceless also conveys the message that the bad things that happen to us don't define us. And there's help out there for people who've been exploited or, like James, have lost their way. This drama will give families of older kids a lot to talk about, but viewers looking for nuance and strong storytelling may be disappointed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the themes in Priceless. How do characters demonstrate courage, compassion, and empathy? Why are those important character strengths?
Do you have to share the filmmakers' beliefs in order to appreciate this movie/other faith-based dramas?
Have you ever thought about why people do the things they do? Do you try to put yourself in their shoes?
- In theaters: October 14, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: February 14, 2017
- Cast: Jim Parrack, Bianca A. Santos, David Koechner, Joel Smallbone
- Director: Ben Smallbone
- Studio: Roadside Attractions
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: mature thematic material involving human trafficking, and some violence