The Lunchbox parents guide

The Lunchbox Parent Guide

Food for the soul.

Overall B-

A lonely wife (Nimrat Kaur) and a man tired of the world (Irrfan Khan) make an unexpected connection with each other when a mix up is made with the delivery of a lunchbox. Set in Mumbai, this film is in English and Hindi with English subtitles.

Violence B+
Sexual Content B+
Profanity A
Substance Use C

Why is The Lunchbox rated PG? The MPAA rated The Lunchbox PG for thematic material and smoking.

Run Time: 105 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

The way to a man’s heart may be through his stomach—but that’s more challenging if his heart is already roaming. Ila (Nimrat Kaur) knows things aren’t going well in her marriage so she decides to spice it up by preparing her husband’s favorite foods for lunch. She puts the items in a multi-tiered metal lunch kit and hands it over to the Mumbai Dabbawala lunchbox delivery service. Unexpectedly, the meal is mistakenly dropped off at the wrong address.

Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan), a widowed accountant nearing retirement, can’t believe how good his lunch tastes. Since the death of his wife he has ordered his midday meal from a nearby restaurant that also uses the lunchbox delivery service. The day after the delicious food, Saajan finds a note from Ila in the tiffin. She explains the meal was meant for her husband. Saajan responds by telling her how good it was. So rather than correct the mistake, Ila continues to prepare food that is delivered to Saajan. And along with the lunch, the pair begins exchanging messages.

At first the notes are very formal and brief, yet as time goes on Ila and Saajan start revealing more about themselves. Ila is very unhappy in her marriage and soon discovers her husband is involved in an affair. Her father is dying of lung cancer and she must offer emotional support to her mother. Saajan on the other hand is lonely and dreading the empty hours of retirement. He has been assigned a young assistant who has managed to bluff his way into the position and is entirely unqualified for the job. After frustrating days at work, Saajan spends his evenings all by himself, sitting on his balcony smoking and watching the happy family next door eat their dinner.

As their relationship grows, the two finally decide to meet. But on the designated day, Saajan fails to show up.

This sub-titled film contains depictions of smoking and relatively minor amounts of sexual content. (It is implied a man is groped on a crowded bus and that another is involved in an affair.) However, the theme of the screenplay centers on unhappy unions, not only Ila’s but also many others that suffer through loveless relationships while caring for sick husbands or choosing suicide as an escape. The only happy couple portrayed in the movie is a young pair who is living together. Laying out the joyless plight of her life, the script carefully justifies Ila’s decision to become involved with another man—even if it is only through the written word. Unfortunately it also makes it seem that most wedded women in India are sorrowful.

Still, The Lunchbox is beautifully made romance, which depicts fresh faces and landscapes. It ingeniously uses letters rather than lots of dialogue to tell the story. As well, it gives North American audiences a look into the everyday dynamics of a different culture and its exotic foods.

Directed by Ritesh Batra. Starring Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Running time: 105 minutes. Updated

The Lunchbox
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Lunchbox rated PG? The Lunchbox is rated PG by the MPAA for thematic material and smoking.

Violence: There is talk about a woman who committed suicide by jumping from a tall building with her child. A man appears to be stealing supplies from the office.

Sexual Content: It is implied that an old woman is groping a man on a crowded train. A woman discovers her husband is involved in an affair. A couple lives together because her father will not give his blessing for their marriage. They are later married.

Language: None noted.

Alcohol / Drug Use:The main character smokes on numerous occasions, although he tries at one point to stop smoking. A man suffers and dies from lung cancer.

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More parents' guide for The Lunchbox after the break...

The Lunchbox Parents' Guide

The dabbawala lunchbox delivery service employs hundreds of people and delivers millions of lunches every day.

What are portrayed as Ila’s options in this movie? Why do you think so many unhappy marriages are depicted? Is there any indication that a new relationship would be any happier in the future?

What kind of relationship does Ila share with her upstairs neighbor? How might divorce laws be different in India? What challenges might be facing a woman who wants to leave her marriage?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of The Lunchbox movie is July 1, 2014. Here are some details…

Home Video Notes: The Lunchbox

Release Date: 8 July 2014

The Lunchbox releases to home video in a Combo Pack (Blu-ray and DVD), with the following extras:

- Commentary track with writer/director Ritesh Batra.

Related home video titles:

Anonymous friendships also develop for the characters in The Shop Around The Corner and You’ve Got Mail. A neglected husband finds a sympathetic ear in his housekeeper in Spanglish.