A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has some very sad Bambi-style moments and some violence, mostly off-screen. The tiger cubs' father is killed and their mother is shot and wounded. Sangha mauls a dog (we only hear about it and it's made clear that the dog wasn't killed) and Kunal is beaten (off camera). There are tense confrontations and unhappy relationships. Some kids may find it uncomfortable when a mother is attracted to someone other than her husband and believes he is flirting with her, when a child loses his pet, or when characters speak harshly to each other. A strength of the movie is the positive portrayal of an inter-racial and inter-cultural romance.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
TWO BROTHERS begins as two tigers meet in the jungle of Southeast Asia and are drawn to one another. Soon they have twins, shy Sangha and adventurous Kumal. They frolic, explore, and tease each other in the huge ruins of a great temple. Then adventurer Aidan McRory (Guy Pearce) arrives in search of sacred sculptures. The father tiger, trying to protect the twins, attacks one of the hunters, and McRory shoots and kills him. The mother tiger carries Sangha to safety, but Kumal is left behind. McRory befriends him, but must leave him with the village leader. Kumal ends up in a circus, being trained to act fierce and jump through a hoop of fire. Meanwhile, McRory helps a French official set up a staged tiger hunt for a cruel and insecure prince. The tiger he captures for the prince to shoot is the twins' mother. Sangha goes to live with the official's young son who loves him and cares for him tenderly. But Sangha is given to the prince, who wants to see him fight another tiger -- Kumal.
Is it any good?
Two Brothers is the story of magnificent creatures gorgeously photographed in a story that is quietly told and genuinely touching. The images are stunningly beautiful, with breathtaking close-ups of the twin tigers, who are expressive and moving both as frisky cubs and as adults. The story is truly told from their point of view, with long spaces of no dialogue. It's a true gift to see a story that trusts its audience enough to let them discover the story for themselves and that understands the eloquence of silence.
The human characters are vivid enough to give the story more depth and context, but not so much that they interfere with the fairy-tale like journey of the heroes of the movie, Sangha and Kumal.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how McRory and an English-speaking native (who will become his wife) debate the morality of killing wild animals and taking sacred artifacts from ruins, in terms of the different ways that people see those issues and also about the way they discuss them with each other. What kinds of arguments are persuasive? How did his father's disappointment in him affect the prince? How do you know when it is "good to take a chance?"
- In theaters: June 25, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: December 21, 2004
- Cast: Freddie Highmore, Guy Pearce, Jean-Claude Dreyfus
- Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters, Science and Nature, Wild Animals
- Run time: 109 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild violence
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