The World Before Her is powerful in both its simplicity and its willingness to let the material speak for itself. It will remind its audience of the plight of girls and women in India, a country which prides itself on its modernism and forward-thinking development. For the pageant contestants it's skin-whitening, Botox, training in modeling, diction, makeup, and fashion. Most of the young women see their participation as a way to avoid the second-class citizenry India assigns to their gender. For the girls sent to the camp its an indoctrination based on traditional, pre-Gandhi Hinduism and promoting armed conflict in defense of their religion. The teachings are staunchly anti-Muslim, anti-Christian, anti-career, and anti-modernism. Director Pahuja brought the first crew ever allowed to visit a Durga Vahini camp, a part of the women's wing of the fundamentalist Vishva Hindu Parishad.)
Girls will be able to identify with and find compassion for their Indian counterparts, who are bright, driven, and struggling to emerge as independent women in a repressive environment. It's a remarkable film, a story told with impeccable attention to important details and to emotional understanding, that's highly recommended for older girls, teens, and family viewing.