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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Coexisting with the earth and nature. Learning to understand and appreciate a culture and people very different from our own.
Positive Role Models
Maasai warriors are shown to prefer play over battle, don't eat wild animals, don't poach, and help to stop poaching in the Serengeti.
Violence & Scariness
Some nature violence. Lion shown killing a cow. Maasai kill a sheep then drink blood from its slit throat; sheep's cadaver graphically shown.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A Maasai medicine man says that he wants a beer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The White Maasai Warrior is a 2019 documentary in which a white man, for the first time, is given the chance to learn to become a Maasai warrior. There are some graphic moments involving killed animals and nature violence that could be difficult for young kids, animal lovers, and the squeamish. The Maasai kill a sheep and then drink the blood from its slit throat; the sheep cadaver is shown being taken apart. A lion attacks and kills a cow. Aside from this, the documentary is an introduction to the Maasai culture, challenging popularly-held beliefs about one of the last nearly isolated tribes in the world. It should inspire discussion among families about the differences between cultures, and what commonalities humanity shares, no matter what their background might be. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It almost goes without saying that, by its very premise, this an interesting documentary. The first white man being invited to join the Maasai warriors and to live as they do -- of course this is going to be inherently worthwhile. It's perhaps just as much of an overview of the Maasai culture as anything else. We learn how they prefer play over battle, how they don't eat wild animals, how they perceive time. There are also some humorous moments -- a medicine man expected to say something mystical instead says that he wants a beer. Benjamin Eicher, the documentarian who has been invited to join the Maasai, faces the limits of his bravery in the wild and opts to ride in the jeep in one scene when faced with lurking danger in the form of fast carnivorous predators lurking in the trees.
If there's any overarching problem with The White Maasai Warrior, it's that this overview tends to supersede deeper introspection. One of the reasons the Maasai invite Eicher to join them is so that the world can see how they live, as they fear that their isolated way of life is starting to vanish. We get this overview in abundance, but relatively little about what it means to both the "White Maasai Warrior" and the world at large. There's a lingering sense that the documentary needs more than a change from a suit and tie to warrior's garb and the drinking of sheep's blood. It's interesting on its own merits, but there's a lingering sense that there should be more than what's presented.
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.