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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Characters are thieves and brutes by socialization; they lie, steal, and commit violence; one is redeemed when he learns to give up his needs for a baby's.
Violence & Scariness
A disturbingly slow and quiet assault with an ice pick; brutal beating that leaves victim's face a bloody pulp; carjacking that leaves woman driver beaten and horrified.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Woman nurses a child with her breast partially exposed.
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Profanity in subtitles (f-word included).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink (some drunken behavior by 18- and 19-year-olds), smoke cigarettes, and take drugs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie shows kids and young people living on the streets and in poverty in South Africa, with scenes showing harsh violence (stabbing, shooting, beating), drinking and drug use, the accidental kidnapping of a baby during a carjacking, posters warning against AIDS, and the parents' subsequent distress. The focus is on a young hoodlum, whose initial inability to cope with the infant's needs leads to terrible mistakes (the baby is covered with ants and filth, cries, needs food). He holds a gun on a young woman to force her to breastfeed the baby; he beats one friend and regrets it; he kills another in order to stop more violence. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Last year's Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film, TSOTSI is a brutal, affecting film about a young man's turn from violence to almost incomprehensible generosity. Gavin Hood's film takes place in a harsh, amorphous now -- the presence of AIDS marks a change from the film's source, Athol Fugard's novel, which was set in the 1950s (published in 1980). This shift underlines the persistence of risks in the South African townships: the particular danger may shift, but hopelessness and fury go on.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate