Parents' Guide to

Slumdog Millionaire

By James Rocchi, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Epic romance-drama is brilliant but too mature for kids.

Movie R 2008 120 minutes
Slumdog Millionaire Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 39 parent reviews

age 16+

Fantastic film, perfectly fine for older kids

This an absolutely beautiful film. The script is well-written and flows marvelously, carried by incredible acting by everyone in the cast, even the little children. Dev Patel is particularly amazing, giving such delicate emotion and feeling to his character, Jamal. I was immediately sucked into the film and was rooting for the main characters the whole time. The movie does a good job of capturing the highs along with the appropriate lows. I’m 18, but I’m sensitive to violence in movies (especially sexual violence) so I use CSM to prescreen movies I’m interested in. I decided to write this review because I found it difficult to gauge exactly how violent this movie was from other reviews. That in mind, I found the violence in Slumdog Millionaire to be much milder than I was lead to believe. Yes, there is plenty of violence: people are beaten either with fists or sticks, a man is lit on fire, a woman’s face is deliberately scarred with a knife, people are shot, people are electrocuted and tortured. But the editing is done so that much of this violence is implied, or only shown for a brief amount of time. There’s never any blood or guts. Many people are concerned about the scene in which a child’s eyes are burned with oil: the scene is brief and again edited to be rather mild, and quite honestly the moments before in which he was chloroformed were more disturbing. Again, I think that while there is a lot of violence, it is not particularly graphic. The average horror film is much more graphic than this film, and I think any older teenager would be able to handle this. In terms of language, there is a moderate amount, but it’s not constant throughout the film. Sex stuff is also limited, and mostly implied. A supporting character is being trained to be a prostitute, but that is never implicitly shown; only referenced. There is implied sexual contact between two young teenagers, but nothing is shown. There are brief scenes in which women and men are making out, but they are partially clothed. A child is seen naked from behind in a non-sexual context for a brief scene. As someone who is sensitive to sexual violence, I was not disturbed by any of this. For consumerism: there is a lot of focus on money in this film, but it is in the context of survival. Jamal and Salim are kids from the slums, so of course money is important to them. But nothing feels greedy or conniving, at least not from the children. Many of their schemes are very entertaining. I feel that many reviews have pointed out the violence, but not the fact that it is a beautifully uplifting film as well. Jamal and Latika are likeable characters, and the film does a good job of showing nuance in characters: bad things they may have done to survive do not invalidate the good things they do. The message of the film is that good ultimately triumphs over evil, and the ending is thrilling. I hope this review was helpful to someone who couldn’t gauge this film well from other reviews! Slumdog Millionaire is one of the best movies I have watched recently. I believe the R rating is appropriate, but I would urge you to not let that frighten you away from such a beautiful, moving film.
age 18+

Horrible movie with child nudity and torture scenes

While the story and its bad events may depict what happens in India, it could have censored the child exploitation humour and scenes

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (39 ):
Kids say (97 ):

Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Millions), this is a bold, big, and beautiful film. It's a rich, gripping tale of heroism, struggle, true love, and unfailing friendship set in the rough-and-tumble world of modern India. Based on the novel Q&A by Vikas Swarup, Slumdog Millionaire combines the heady, energetic, and inspired direction of Boyle's earlier films with the heart and humanity of his lesser-known, more recent films; the end result is a knockout of a film. Slumdog Millionaire has the feel and structure of a great Dickensian adventure combined with a bracing, modern look at life in 21st-century India -- and brilliant performances as well. Patel shines as the honest, striving, good-hearted Jamal, while Pinto gets to be far more than just "the girl." Co-star Irfan Khan (whom you may recognize from A Mighty Heart) is also excellent as the police detective who ultimately comes around to standing by Jamal as he tells his story, and Anil Kapoor is terrific as the charming, bullying game show host.

Slumdog Millionaire features some rough stuff -- violence, poverty, exploitation -- but at the same time it has a heart and humanity that shine through even in its darkest moments. And when the finale unfolds, it feels truly earned considering all that's gone before. Slumdog Millionaire may seem a little tough to get into at first with its blunt depiction of the cruelty of life and the switches between English and Hindi throughout the film, but it unfolds like a plain-spoken thing of wonder; it's easily one of the best films of 2008.

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