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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids can learn a lot about how people live in other parts of the world. This is a great introduction to a discussion about other cultures.
This film exposes kids to a lifestyle very different from their own and is a great way to expand their understanding of the world. It also teaches that families have universal struggles and joys regardless of their life circumstances. Themes of tradition vs. modern life emerge.
Positive Role Models
The young girl goes against her father's instructions and this causes problems for other family members. Kids have more responsibilities than most Western children.
Violence & Scariness
The realities of rural life are shown: close-up of a dead sheep, skinning sheep, vultures feeding on a carcass in distance. Brief scene of siblings arguing. Talk about vultures and wolves being dangerous. Children get lost/left a few times. The scariest moment is when the family realizes a young boy has been left behind. As the dad races back to get him, the boy wanders near vultures and water.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Non-sexual nudity of a child. The youngest child's bare butt is shown. There's a brief frontal nudity shot, which is when the audience may realize he's in fact a boy, not a girl (he wears pigtails).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this award-winning movie featuring a real-life Mongolian family includes a couple of suspenseful, perilous scenes when a child is lost or left alone. Viewers also see animal carcasses, vultures feeding, a sheep being skinned, and kids playing with dung. Be prepared to confront gender assumptions -- the little boy looks like a girl with his hair in pigtails and it comes as a big surprise when his sex is revealed by a brief non-sexual nude shot. Overall, the movie is a unique peek into an unfamiliar culture that could expand kids' understanding of the world. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Byambasuren Davaa lived with the Batchuluuns, a real nomadic family in Mongolia, and let things unfold naturally to create this thoughtful and beautiful film. We get a no-frills view, with stunning cinematography, of everyday life, which is threatened by the encroaching city and its lure for families like the Batchuluuns. From the scene of two siblings fighting after they wake up one morning to the dismantling of their yurt, the family going about their daily life is fascinating to watch, especially because the rosy-cheeked children rely on their imaginations for play and have more physical and adult responsibilities than their peers might elsewhere.
Between the harsh realities of nomadic life and the scary moments of children being separated from their parents, this isn't always an easy movie for kids to watch. And the movie has a slow feel to it, so some kids might get a bit restless. There are some heavy topics about modern life and its effect on cultures that will raise questions for older kids, but ultimately the universal themes of hope, family, and value of human life will resonate with all.
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.