Priceless

Movie review by
Yvonne Condes, Common Sense Media
Priceless Movie Poster Image
Strong message, weak story in faith-based trafficking drama.
  • PG-13
  • 2016
  • 97 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Themes of compassion, courage, and empathy. The sisters who are held captive are brave and don't give up. Encourages compassion toward the victims of human trafficking. Strong messages about faith and giving yourself over to a higher power.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Antonia never loses her faith or dignity. She does everything she can to protect her sister, including giving herself to her captor. James risks never seeing his daughter to save Antonia. James and Antonia dedicate their lives to helping women forced into prostitution. Dale steps in to help James listen to the voice inside of him telling him to do the right thing.

Violence

Antonia and Maria are smuggled in the back of a moving truck. They're taken to a house with other girls and forced into prostitution. Antonia is pushed around and forced to have sex with her trafficker; it's not shown on screen, but Maria is seen outside the door covering her ears and crying. The women are threatened. A man is shot and killed at a playground. People are threatened with guns. James gets in many fights, shoving and hitting men. He hits a man with a fire extinguisher. James almost crashes the moving truck into another car.

Sex

Antonia and Maria are sold into prostitution to pay off their father's debt. Antonia is found drugged in a massage parlor with a man. A prostitute tells a story of meeting a man online and ending up being drugged and waking up in a van with a bunch of men. Maria is told to put in a dress and makeup to get her picture taken. A girl walks up to a car at night and asks for money for sex.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Women and teens are offered pills and alcohol. Antonia is drugged at one point. Flashbacks include James drinking heavily and getting in a fight.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycj r. October 17, 2016

Surprisingly good and timely film

I went into this movie with low expectations, thinking it would either be poorly acted, generally cheesy, or hysterical regarding its subject matter: sex traffi... Continue reading
Adult Written byAlas-de-Aguila February 19, 2017

Priceless Perfection!

When this movie came out it was not shown in my city. I just bought the DVD. In my opinion, the message is one that needs to be spread everywhere. This movie de... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byCat_Smith67 October 19, 2016

Teen for Priceless

PRICELESS is a brilliant film. It reaches on a topic and a message that this world needs to hear. It reminds, women especially, what we are worth and how we sho... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byVictoria_116 October 15, 2016

Priceless

As long as you understand what prostitution is then this movie is perfect for you to watch

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?

  • How does the violence in this movie compare to what you might see in an action/thriller movie? Does all media violence have the same impact?

  • Have you ever thought about why people do the things they do? Do you try to put yourself in their shoes?

Movie details

For kids who love dramas

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