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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A true champion shows courage, passion, and determination when faced with adversity. Kids just want to have fun and explore new things. You never know what skills and interests kids might develop if they are just given opportunities to explore and experiment. Kids don’t care about social hierarchies. They can learn to make do and have fun with very few possessions. Girls deserve the same opportunities and ability to dream as boys. School is a privilege, and an education matters.
Positive Role Models
Siblings care for each other. Jessica and Erick get the kids of the village skateboards and gear, then help find a way to get a skate park built. Jessica turns down a lucrative promotion to stay in the village with the kids. Prerna's father won't let his wife work outside the home even though they need money. He gets angry with Prerna for doing "things for boys,” like skating, and he publicly shames Jessica for supposedly living with Erick before marriage, though they are actually both just staying at the same hotel and a romance is never suggested. Prerna's mom helps her daughter get around some of her father's rules. Subodh is kind to the new girl at school and gives her his textbook after another classmate won't share hers. The kids of the village show care and gratitude for the few possessions they have.
Violence & Scariness
Prerna's dad slaps his daughter and pushes her and his wife when he's angry. He also sets fire to one prized possession and sells off another, and he arranges a marriage for his young daughter in a hurry. Boys tease each other at school and fight in the mud. Erick hints that his stepdad was violent when he was a child. Jessica’s relative is said to have died in a factory fire. Kids fall off skateboards, in one case injuring a leg.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Prerna and Subodh have a first date before her parents decide to marry her off in a rush. Prerna seems to suggest she doesn't enter a temple because she's menstruating.
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"Hell," "brat," "shut up," "silly." The film was reviewed in the original Hindi and English with English subtitles.
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Products & Purchases
Brands seen clearly include Mac products and Vans.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Skater Girl is an uplifting Hindi-language drama about a British woman named Jessica (Amy Maghera) seeking her roots in a rural Indian village who finds new motivation when she meets a group of children who've never seen a skateboard before. With the help of a friend, she gets them all boards and gear, which leads to new opportunities for exploration and growth. In securing land and funds to build a skate park, Jessica makes a powerful case for the importance of giving kids, especially girls, expanded options. The village children, who've all made their own special riding board or toy on wheels using scraps, are shown to be living in poverty. And the girls and women have limited choices, with decisions regularly being made for them. Central teenage character Prerna (Rachel Saanchita Gupta) is forced by her father to miss school and do work and chores; eventually she'll be forced to wed someone of her father's choosing. Her mother isn't allowed to work outside the home, and her father yells at, slaps, and pushes them both. The village has rules about caste dynamics, including separate water fountains and friend groups. Prerna and the other village kids appreciate (and show gratitude for) the things they do have and all that they're given. Prerna takes a big risk at the end to follow her dreams, and it pays off. Language includes "hell" and "shut up." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Uplifting films about kids discovering themselves through sport are not new, but this one takes on deeper significance thanks to its setting. Skater Girl is successful precisely because it's location-specific but has universal messages. Some of those messages may feel obvious -- of course girls deserve equal opportunities and to decide their own destinies -- but the setting gives them a new urgency. When Prerna, played by magnetic newcomer Rachel Saanchita Gupta, rides a skateboard for the first time, the way her eyes and face light up says it all. The freedom, the excitement, the fun she experiences is a complete novelty and wakes her up to a life of new possibilities. It's hard to imagine a film in any other context infusing quite so much meaning to riding a skateboard down a street. When her mother pulls Prerna's red wedding veil down over her face, it's symbolic of a shutting down of those possibilities, a closing off of her dreams, and it represents just how much she now has to lose.
This film isn't based on a true story, but it was inspired by similar ones. The Indian village is depicted as a place where unspoken rules of caste and gender discrimination still reign, but kids everywhere just want to play and explore. Prerna's brother Ankush (adorable Shafin Patel) embodies this innocence -- he's not yet burdened by the rules of society and doesn't fully understand or abide by them. He even puts on a nonviolent, pro-skating protest inspired by Gandhi. The village is decrepit -- houses with holes in the roofs and single beds kids must share, abandoned buildings -- but it has its own beauty that the camera captures in contrasting the luster of the local women's flowing, jewel-toned clothing against white-washed and sun-soaked stone edifices. The film isn't without flaws. Parts of the plot feel rushed to get from point to point, Jessica's story of searching for her roots doesn't feel fully resolved, the fairy godmother character deserved more development, and dialogues, particularly between the White characters, can feel a bit forced. But you'll easily forgive those flaws when you get caught up in the sweetness and positivity of this story.
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.
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