A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Modern-day India is depicted as a complex, rich culture of wonderful opportunity and yet terrifying poverty. Police forces are depicted as brutal, but they ultimately do the right thing. Criminal, greedy, and venal behavior is depicted -- and not always punished.
Positive Role Models
Through brains, principles, and decency, the lead character achieves in the face of poverty, prejudice, and evil. He demonstrates perseverance and integrity.
Violence & Scariness
Strong violence; the lead character is beaten, drowned, and electrically shocked by authorities in order to elicit a confession; a depiction of a religious riot includes beatings, on-screen deaths, and men being set ablaze. A young child shoots a man in a clear kill-or-be-killed situation. A young boy is blinded with hot oil to increase his value as a beggar. A woman's face is deliberately scarred with a knife. Fist fighting and other shooting deaths.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A supporting character is being taught courtesan's skills before being sold into sex slavery (at a high price due to her status as a virgin); some kissing; implied semi-sexual activity between a pre-teen boy and girl. Non-sexual nudity (a child's buttocks are seen).
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Strong, including "s--t," "hell," "damn," "crap," "piss," "bugger," "p---y," and non-sexual uses of "f---ing."
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Products & Purchases
The plot revolves around the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Constant smoking; characters (in some cases even very young children) drink hard liquor.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that despite incidents of violence and cruelty, Slumdog Millionaire is a sweeping, thrilling drama that mature teens will be able to take -- and will probably very much enjoy. There's some extreme violence -- electrocution, murder, and violence perpetrated by, and on, young children -- but it never feels exploitative or simplistic. The film revolves around issues of class (how could a poor "slumdog" like the lead character possibly do so well on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?). and includes many images of modern India, including real -- but still hard-to-take -- depictions of poverty and hopelessness. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
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.