Sorry, Haters

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Sorry, Haters Movie Poster Image
Stereotype- and expectation-busting indie drama.
  • NR
  • 2006
  • 87 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The female lead is borderline psychotic in her vengefulness and outwardly racist -- a nightmare portrayal of a driven career woman as predator. There may be some kind of ironic statement intended in that the white American woman embodies the all-consuming, homicidal rage over which Arab and Muslim men are accused. She tries to attribute her pathololgies to an especially twisted take on the public mood on September 11, 2001. Ashade, who never wanted any trouble, is driven to violence by her, despite his attempts to resist. Ironically, both are supposed to come from very religious backgrounds. In the end the viewer's judgments are on trial here.

Violence

A man threatens a woman with a knife, and people are cut both accidentally and on purpose. Explosions kill people and a dog is cruelly slain, both just barely offscreen.

Sex

Mostly talk, but that includes when the manipulative antiheroine challenges Ashade to have sex with her (dropping her pants while she's at it).

Language

The F-bomb dropped by an angry Ashade. The heroine disapproves of profanity, but uses the racist term "Jewboy" among others, and her rap-music TV show has as much obscene language as bling.

Consumerism

Rap music and a fancy new SUV are part of the plot.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The heroine smokes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that characters in this movie work in the rap-music industry, and there are excerpts of profanity-laced music (and hints that the cynicism and negativity in rap has tainted their outlooks). There is talk of adultery and broken families, and the plot turns out to be a tricky sort of revenge-thriller, which defies traditional Hollywood morality views of good and evil (especially in the outcome). Justice is not served and may never be. There is an undercurrent of September 11, 2001, although the event is never even mentioned by name.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 April 8, 2011

i rate this title IFFY for 13+

What to watch out for * Messages: The female lead is borderline psychotic in her vengefulness and outwardly racist -- a nightmare portrayal of... Continue reading

What's the story?

Ashade (Abdellatif Kechiche) is an educated Syrian Muslim driving a taxi, trying to earn enough money to keep his brother from being deported back to Syria (and likely torture) for very iffy terrorist ties. His taxi is hailed by sharp-tongued Philly (Robin Wright Penn), who talks scornfully about her job producing Sorry, Haters, a top-rated TV show in which rap-music stars flaunt their wealth, girls, and success. The reluctant taxi drives her to her suburban home and self-described dysfunctional family. Soon she goes too far. She starts to tempt Ashade to commit a terrorist act, with her help, to protest his brother's ordeal. Ashade is horrified and glad to be rid of this scary customer. But he's not rid of her -- as he discovers that she's stolen all his earnings. Knowing where she works, the desperate cabbie goes on the offensive.

Is it any good?

Though packaging makes it look like a "can't we all get along?" piece about New York City after 9/11, SORRY, HATERS is a tricky blend of genres. It's at once drama, thriller, and political-social commentary, never quite finding its feet in any one camp. But it's fast-paced, bracing, and watchable all the way to the especially startling finish. The script plays on negative expectations and stereotypes of two reviled minorities: Arab-Islamic men and American career women.

This film is definitely not a crowd-pleaser, leaving unanswered questions about Robin Wright Penn character's true motivations and values. What exactly is she getting out of her scheme? (The DVD commentary offers insight). Sorry, Haters packs a wallop in its portrait of people condemned by prejudices -- and the viewer's, since some of our assumptions about Philly turn out to be completely wrong as well. The lean, straight-ahead plotting should keep teen viewers watching.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the characters and how almost nobody -- the Syrian-Arab man, the high-powered TV producer, the Asian mistress -- conform to our expectations. But the movie's manipulative antagonist relies on stereotypes and prejudices to make sure her scheme works out. Do you believe her motivations? How easily do you think a conspiracy like this could happen in real life -- especially in a national climate of fear and "Homeland Security?" Some people believe 9/11 was a big setup. Do you think this movie supports that conspiracy mindset? Why do you think it's named after the fictitious TV show?

Movie details

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