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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Sometimes in spite of best efforts, things don't work out the way you hoped. When that happens, try not to wallow in disappointment. If you take your time working through what happened you should eventually be able to move forward again.
Positive Role Models
Sandi, Jasmine, and Sophia are great role models for throwing themselves completely into a project they really believed in, giving it everything they had, and doing whatever it took to make it happen. But Sandi's pride and ego sometimes blinded her to some dangers and pitfalls, especially to the impact some of her decisions and attitudes had on her friends. Georges is a very mysterious person, and no one's sure about anything when it comes to him.
Violence & Scariness
Clips from classic movies show some disturbing images and violence very briefly and in rapid succession. The story of the original Shirkers was about a 16-year-old girl on a killing spree. The plot is talked about without gore or violence, and no violent footage from that movie is shown. Several people relate stories Georges told, one about watching his brother bleed to death, and another about being on the scene when the actress Jayne Mansfield died in an auto accident, mentioning her decapitated head.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
On a road trip alone together, Georges once asked Sandi to touch his stomach; she ignored the request and they never spoke of it again. Brief, dark footage of dogs mating in silhouette. A magazine cover says "Sex Issue" with an illustration of a woman in bed with her knees up and hands in the foreground opening a condom.
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"F--k," "a--hole," "ass," "d--k around," "bitch about." "F--k" is seen several times in written correspondence between friends.
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Products & Purchases
Cans of Coke stacked in a dorm-room window.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Sandi receives a bottle of wine in a package and is advised not to drink it all at once. Georges lights what looks like a corncob pipe for Sandi. Many female characters in the original Shirkers movie smoke heavily. Rare background smoking in documentary footage.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Shirkers is a documentary about the strange events and people surrounding the making of Singapore's first independent movie back in 1992. The plot of the original Shirkers involved a 16-year-old serial killer, although no violent footage is shown. A few classic film clips briefly show violence or disturbing images in rapid-fire succession. A couple of people mention stories that Georges, a mysterious and unreliable person, told about watching his brother bleed to death and about seeing Jayne Mansfield's decapitated head. Strong language isn't frequent but includes "f--k," "a--hole," and "d--k around." Rare sexual content includes a request to touch a stomach that was ignored, and a magazine cover titled "Sex Issue." There's a reference to not drinking a whole bottle of wine at once. Female characters in the original movie are heavy smokers. Best for mature teens and up who can enjoy piecing together a mystery from the perspective of looking back on the past and who can handle the slow, quiet pace and mature themes and situations. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This quiet, gently paced documentary tells a compelling, mysterious story that explores themes of friendship, trust, and reclaiming your life after bitter disappointment and betrayal. A lot of the footage in Shirkers is repetitive, and in the middle the slow pace gets pretty tiresome. But it keeps enough suspense and tension going to hold viewer interest until the mystery is solved. It's also a fascinating look into life in Singapore, especially for viewers who don't know much about the small island nation.
Teens will relate to the friends' drive and eagerness to do something unique and important, and they'll admire Sandi, Jasmine, and Sophia's ability to create something from almost nothing. Not all questions are answered, and not all issues are neatly wrapped up in the end, which ultimately gives it a true-to-life, if bittersweet, feeling. Best for mature teens who can handle the slow pace, mature themes, and occasional strong language.
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.