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Parents' Guide to

Rooting for Roona

By Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Heartbreaking, inspiring docu about an ill girl's journey.

Movie NR 2020 41 minutes
Rooting for Roona Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

Heartbreaking :’(

I have an 11-month-old, and Netflix seems keen on recommending me heartbreaking shows like Hope Frozen and Rooting for Roona, both about parents who lose their babies. I couldn’t finish the whole documentary — it was just too sad :’( This is my absolute worst nightmare, to see my baby suffering so much and being helpless to help him. Fatima and her husband are so brave to have gone through what they did. And dear Roona fought so hard to live. This reminded me of how precious and fragile life is...and how grateful I am to be able to hold and kiss my baby every day. As for the recommended age, I don’t think it made sense for me to put down a number — but there was no other option, so I just put down 12 because of the emotionally heavy scenes.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This is such an intimate portrayal of a family dealing with a child's illness that it sometimes feels invasive. Yet directors Pavitra Chalam and Akshay Shankar manage to navigate this tricky path and deserve praise for shining a light on something that affects the entire world, but which has the biggest impact on underdeveloped and developing countries, such as Roona's India. Shot over a period of five years in the north-east Indian village of Tripura, Roona -- born with hydrocephalus that has caused her head to swell -- and her parents, Fatima and Abdul, provide inspiration in what is ultimately a desperate situation. Fatima in particular shows remarkable courage -- as well as honesty -- as she talks about the "normal life" that she hopes Roona will one day have. It's testament to the filmmakers how comfortable the family became to allow their most personal thoughts and moments recorded on camera.

Despite being just 41 minutes long, Rooting for Roona is packed with moments of heartbreak. Even the moments we're not directly privy to leave an emotional punch. In one scene, Abdul recounts how people told them that Roona's illness was a "punishment for their sins." There are moments when you wonder if the cameras should have been switched off -- it's hoped that the family had final sign-off as to what footage is used. But there's no denying that this is a powerful documentary that by the end, if you're not already, will have you reaching for the tissues and giving your children a huge hug.

Movie Details

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