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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It takes courage to let go of prior resentments, guilt, and pain in order to grow and feel gratitude. It takes empathy to understand other people's mental struggles.
Positive Role Models
Parker has to hit rock bottom in order to realize that she needs to let go of her harmful patterns. She summons the courage to face her guilt over her brother's death; by letting go of the pain, she gains a new sense of gratitude for life. Even though Shuroo is a con artist, he helps those who come to him feel more in tune with life and face their issues head-on.
Cast isn't especially racially diverse. But actor Tommy Dorfman, who has announced her identity as a trans woman, provides LGBTQ+ representation through her character Mark, who realizes that he struggles with his sexuality. Trans actor Iman Le Claire also plays a minor character. Olivia Sui's character, Nini, is revealed to have borderline personality disorder. While Nini refers to herself as "crazy," the character isn't a particularly egregious representation of someone with the diagnosis. A commentary could be made about the fact that Shuroo is a White man named Declan who's appropriating Indian guru culture. But the film doesn't venture to make this point.
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Violence & Scariness
Mention of burning down a church. Scene with another character calling Shuroo "Charlie Manson." Scene with description of child sexual abuse and a character getting stabbed.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Graphic sex scenes: a character beginning to masturbate by using another person's foot, several scenes featuring heavy petting/groping. A scene shows a character's underwear after she falls on a stage, and several scenes show shirtless men. Characters talk about sex -- e.g., saying "He wants to f--k you" or describe wanting "to get laid" or "sit on" a character's face. Humorous pelvic trusting.
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Swear words include "s--t," "c--t," "motherf----r," "bitch," "s--thole," "pr--k," "goddamn," "bulls--t," "pencil d--k," "ass," and "tiny t-ts." Also words that could be seen as ableist ("crazy"). Exclamatory use of "oh God" and "Jesus."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character refers to another's use of "the booze, the blow, [and] the smoking." Scenes with characters drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and taking drugs, including mescaline. Mentions of a Bloody Mary and meth binges, 12 steps, and cocaine. Several scenes show characters' actions during a mescaline high.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Shuroo Process is a dramedy about a woman (Fiona Dourif) who tries to find herself during a self-help retreat led by a self-professed guru (Donal Brophy). Mature content includes a description of child sexual abuse, a stabbing, graphic sex scenes (masturbation, heavy petting/groping, crude references), drinking, smoking, extensive drug use, and swearing ("s--t," "motherf----r," and more). On a positive note, there's also trans representation via two members of the cast. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This meandering film has strong performances, but the uncommitted plot doesn't definitively answer questions about society's obsession with gurus. The Shuroo Process feels like it's trying to say something about false gurus, personal guilt, and self-help, but it doesn't really make anything clear enough to figure out the filmmakers' point of view. That's unfortunate, since the film does seem interested in investigating how gurus -- even con artist "gurus" -- can inspire real, meaningful change in their disciples.
Parker enrolls in the Shuroo Process after hitting absolute rock bottom in both her journalism career and her personal relationships. Dourif plays her as realistically as possible, and the character's ascent back to the top of her game feels earned, as does her ability to release herself from her guilt over her brother's death. Shuroo, the guru responsible for her personal growth, is played as a charming person who can make even the cagiest person open up and trust him. But his charm is laced with a bit of slickness, and we learn that he is, in fact, a dodgy person, to say the least. And while the film is successful with its characterizations, it doesn't provide a real lesson, if there's even supposed to be one. Is it that sham gurus always find a way to be popular and relevant in society? Is it that Parker actually did find herself despite Shuroo's fakeness? And does her liberation stem from releasing her guilt, from exposing Shuroo as a con, or both? Still, The Shuroo Process is ultimately an interesting film, even if it's not quite sure what it wants to say.
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.