A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
For kids not familiar with Puerto Rican food, there's an opportunity to learn more about food culture from Puerto Rico.
Mixed messages: a positive theme about being proud of your cultural heritage, but negative themes about family not being helpful as a young girl tries to understand her identity.
Positive Role Models
Isabella's teacher is a great role model who tries to help her feel proud of her heritage instead of embarrassed.
On one hand, this short film features a Puerto Rican family living in the mainland United States and showcases their delicious traditional foods (and features dialogue mostly in Spanish). The main character Isabella is a tween trying to understand her dual cultural identities. However, Isabella's family is somewhat negatively and stereotypically portrayed- they tease her and shut her down when she talks about wanting to fit in more with her classmates instead of listening and understanding why she is having those feelings. And Isabella's main struggle- having a different lunch than her non Puerto Rican classmates- is a fairly common theme in media about immigrant families that isn't really expanded on in this piece.
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Violence & Scariness
There's a bit of verbal hostility on the part of Isabella's mom, which may be upsetting to kids coming from a parental figure. She says (in Spanish) "Shut your mouth before I smack you" in response to Isabella's asking to have traditional American Thanksgiving foods as part of the upcoming holiday.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that ¡Cóme! (Eat!) is a short-film about a 12-year-old girl named Isabella who is struggling with what it means to be of Puerto Rican heritage and living in the mainland United States. It's a fairly serious drama that isn't targeted at young kids, but there's not too much mature content. There is one scene where Isabella's mother is dismissive of her desire to eat more 'American' foods, and her mother says, "Shut your mouth before I smack you." This verbal hostility may be upsetting to kids coming from a parental figure. Otherwise, the short film may be a useful starting point for parents and kids to talk about how their personal identities make them feel left out sometimes. Note that much of the film is in Spanish, and reading subtitles quickly may be difficult for younger non-Spanish speaking kids.
Is It Any Good?
¡Cóme! (Eat!) reflects an experience many kids have when their parents send them to school with lunches that don't fit into the usual PB&J mold. The storyline of a kid's non-'American' lunch making them feel out-of-place has been represented in many types of media, and this particular short film doesn't exactly explore new territory. Many kids may see themselves reflected on screen, but this serious and understated film won't have natural appeal for the middle school demographic close in age to lead character Isabella. Understanding and embracing your identities can be a messy, complicated process. While ¡Cóme! (Eat!) isn't perfect, it may be a good jumping off point for discussion between grown-ups and kids.
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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.
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