A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Privileged, educated, white, urban women have so much anxiety they need meds, while poor, brown, physically-abused women slog through difficult lives without complaint or asking for help.
Positive Role Models
Rosie is intelligent but has never learned to think about long-term planning, so although she has no money, no prospects for a job, and a boyfriend who tries to strangle her, she returns to him and seems to think that everything will somehow be all right. Aila is kind and compassionate.
Violence & Scariness
A pregnant girl stands barefoot on the street, having been beaten about her face and strangled by her boyfriend. A counselor notes that many abused women return to their abusers, thinking they have no alternatives.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Rosie mentions that her boyfriend doesn't like her looking nice so his friends won't want to have sex with her. A character has an IUD implanted.
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"F--k," "s--t," "c--t," and "bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A man talks about going to AA and becoming sober. A girl steals medicine from someone, then sells it to a dealer for cash.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open is a frank slice-of-life drama in which a young, pregnant, poor Canadian girl escapes her abusive boyfriend and encounters a sympathetic middle-class woman who tries to help. Although both women have indigenous roots, everything else about them underscores their differences -- education level, economic status, skin color. For Canadians familiar with recent revelations about deaths and disappearances of indigenous women, this may have more resonance than for other audiences. Domestic violence is a main subject. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," and "bitch." A pregnant girl stands barefoot on the street, having been beaten about her face and strangled by her boyfriend. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open is a maddeningly slow-moving story that despite its pace still manages to offer absorbing sympathetic moments. Nevertheless, "story" is a generous word to describe this, a true encounter from codirector Tailfeather's life. The movie doesn't end but rather peters out, but Tailfeather says that's the way her encounter ended. Unfortunately, sometimes good story-telling requires improving on "truth" in order to create "art." And while performances here are sensitive, a creatively-constructed arc is what is missing, robbing the audience of what could have been a far more emotionally-involving experience.
The decision to shoot this in "real time" also adds long, tedious, nonessential running time that greatly dilutes the impact of more essential scenes. We watch the characters sit through a cab ride through traffic for six (!) long minutes (stop lights included), with barely a word of dialogue spoken. A woman goes to the bathroom and for five-and-a-half minutes we watch her clean her face and change her clothes, in real time. Why? Someone else goes to the bathroom and we have to watch her sit on the toilet, wipe, and change her sanitary pad, in real time. Why? The fact that men are next to nonexistent in this world also makes it a bit heavy-handed. In all, this may have more resonance for Canadians since a recent national investigation concluded that the disappearances and deaths of more than 4,000 indigenous girls and women add up to a "genocide" for which Canada is responsible.
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.