A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Celebrates perseverance, hard work, and advancement. Also champions cooperation over a dog-eat-dog mentality and the idea of finding greatness in small moments of personal connection, rather than in life as a whole.
Positive Role Models
Sami is kind and smart; he tries to latch on to the American Dream, but he finds that he needs to discover himself first. He wants to honor his father and learns that he can do that not by killing tigers but by simply living his life and finding the greatness in each moment. Though he displays some small facets of an Indian stereotype, these are shown largely in jest, and he's definitely a fully formed person. The character lies during one sequence but quickly rectifies the situation by telling the truth.
Violence & Scariness
Guns shown during tiger hunt. Shooting and killing offscreen. A company is trying to make microwaves that won't explode.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Joke centered around two men in a bathroom stall who are trying to remove a pair of pants that belong to a shared suit; a man overhears them and clearly thinks something sexual is going on.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Tiger Hunter is a 1979-set dramedy about a man (Danny Pudi) who leaves his native India and journeys to New York to pursue the American Dream. Though it's an American movie, it was produced in the Bollywood tradition (i.e., as if it would be facing heavy censorship), so it has virtually no violence, sex, language, consumerism, or drinking/drugs/smoking. In one scene, the main character's father hunts a tiger and holds a rifle, but all shooting/killing happens offscreen. (The slain tiger's tail is even shown swinging along with a musical number.) There's a mild joke centered around two men in a bathroom stall who are trying to remove a pair of pants that belong to a shared suit; a man overhears them and thinks something sexual is going on. The story isn't exactly innovative, but the characters are very likable, and even though it flirts with stereotypes, it also tries to spin them in a positive way. 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 lighthearted dramedy treads the stalest, most worn-out story grooves imaginable, but thanks to its cultural sensitivity and sweetly lovable characters, it's very difficult not to like. Although it gives nods to Bollywood productions, The Tiger Hunter was mostly made by American-based Indian artists; if you look hard enough, you might spy some kind of subversive commentary about the American Dream. But it's much easier to just float along with the familiar old twists and turns, as well as the goofy supporting characters.
Happily, the movie doesn't end with Sami landing his dream job and becoming a millionaire. Better still, he learns how to enjoy life's small moments. And though he races to get the girl in the final act, it's not a race against time that ends with a tear-stained speech. Rather, it becomes a casual, sightseeing road trip with friends; the ending is left ambiguous. The charming Pudi (of Community) is a big reason all of this works, but credit must also go to co-writer Sameer Asad Gardezi and writer/director Lena Khan for holding it all together (and not exploding like a microwave). Not to mention that the 1970s-era fashions, cars, and props are fabulous.
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