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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Celebrates the courage of the featured women, all of whom have heroically served their country, as well as how they come together to help each other, supporting each other emotionally and morally. May well prompt outrage at the inequality of the military establishment (i.e., how services exist to help men but not women).
Positive Role Models
Though these women have suffered, they persevere, battling their way through poverty, homelessness, sickness, divorce, separation from their loved ones, and more. They find strength in each other, as well.
Violence & Scariness
No on-screen violence, but discussions of sexual assault, bloody wounds and death in war, a break-in/murder, etc. Guns are briefly shown. Discussion of a chicken pecking off a woman's nipple.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mentions of ordering and possessing vibrators while serving. Some sex-related talk. Sexy outfits.
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Several uses of "f--k" and "f---ing." Also "hell," "butt," "oh my God," etc.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Mention of a woman being "into drugs," going to rehab, and quitting "cold turkey." Some cigarette smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Served Like a Girl is a documentary about women who serve in the military and come home to find little to no help with problems ranging from illness to homelessness. (According to the movie, some 55,000 female veterans are homeless.) The featured women come together for a pageant called "Ms. Veteran America," which is intended to raise awareness of this problem. While no violence is shown, there are graphic descriptions of death on the battlefield, sexual assault, and a murder. Language is also strong, with several uses of "f--k" and "f---ing." There's also sex talk, including discussions of vibrators, as well as cigarette smoking and mentions of drug addiction. The women get angry (understandably), but ultimately this is a celebratory movie with strong, inspiring female role models and messages about perseverance and courage. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's not polished, but Lysa Heslov's documentary fully celebrates the courage of its featured women -- more off the battlefield than on -- and the result is a strong, teary, heartfelt film. Served Like a Girl interviews Army veteran Jaspen Boothe, who founded the Ms. Veteran America competition, as well as its first winner, Air Force vet Denyse Gordon. It focuses on five new contestants for the 2015 crown, including Navy vet Hope Garcia, who suffered sexual assaults, was homeless, and shares custody of her children with her ex-husband. Army vet Marissa Strock lost her lower legs but still loves shopping for shoes, even though she can't wear her favorite sparkly high heels. Navy vet Rachel Engler was a former NFL cheerleader and fell ill after her service with a chronic neuromuscular illness but continued with her love of dancing.
Heslov interviews the women in casual settings -- just hanging out in doorways or in kitchens, with no artificial "talking heads." That allows Army vet Nichole Alred's mother, a strong supporter of her daughter, to becomes a colorful character as well. The women's stories could easily inspire outrage, but, at the same time, they're also amazing, tragic, and awe-inspiring.
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.