Slumdog Millionaire parents guide

Slumdog Millionaire Parent Guide

Actually shot in some of the poorest parts of India, this movie doesn't wallow in self-pity. Instead it captures a spirit of hope that screams sincerity.

Overall B-

Jamal Malik (Dev Patal) grew up in Mumbai -- far away from the tourist tracks. Yet at the age of 18, the impoverished youth manages to get get on India's version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? --and even wins the big money! Convinced the uneducated orphan must have cheated, the game show's host and producer (Anil Kapoor) brings in a police inspector (Irrfan Khan) to interrogate the young man. The ensuing investigation reveals a wealth of personal history and an insightful look at the life of a slumdog.

Release date January 23, 2009

Violence D+
Sexual Content C-
Profanity D
Substance Use D+

Why is Slumdog Millionaire rated R? The MPAA rated Slumdog Millionaire R or some violence, disturbing images and language.

Run Time: 120 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

Jamal Malik (Dev Patal) grew up in the slums of Mumbai—a part of India far away from the tourist tracks. Now, at the age of 18, he manages to get selected to be on India’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and (even more amazingly) claims the TV contest’s big money. Yet how could this uneducated orphan possibly know the answers to such difficult questions?

Convinced he must have cheated, the game show’s host and producer (Anil Kapoor) brings in a police inspector (Irrfan Khan) to interrogate the young man. Using a variety of disturbing torture techniques, including electrical shock and near drowning, the quiet Jamal continues to insist his claim to the top prize is not from underhanded means, but as a result of his combined life experiences.

Flashing back to a series of vignettes that unfold his personal story, this ingeniously written and edited film ties Jamal’s answers into the events of his past. From living in the dumps, to being abducted by men pretending to run an orphanage, the one consistent thread woven through his harrowing existence is Jamal’s fondness for Latika (Freida Pinto). She is a childhood friend from whom he was separated years earlier. Sadly, we quickly sense that even winning a million dollars won’t replace his lost love.

Serving up a cultural feast, Slumdog Millionaire captivates its audience with dramatic performances and humor, along with a grittiness that never feels gratuitous or obsessive. Still, this content is something parents will want to carefully consider before deciding upon the movie’s suitability for family members.

Children are physically and sexually abused. While the latter is more alluded to than seen on screen, the former brutality is clearly evident. One of the more upsetting depictions is that of a child being forced to have his eyes seared by heat and acid because he can earn more money as a blind beggar. Young girls are groomed to be prostitutes, and many scenes show children in danger from predatory adults. Muslim families are subjected to persecution, such as having their homes torched and being beaten and set on fire (adults and children are the victims of this cruelty). Sexual discussions amongst young people are heard, which include the use of crude anatomical terms and two sexual expletives. About a dozen scatological slang words, some mild profanities and terms of deity round out the language. Tobacco use and drinking, sometimes by children and teens, are also shown.

Even so, this Bollywood/Hollywood hybrid does offer an insightful look at a part of the world rarely seen in mainstream motion pictures. Actually shot in some of the poorest parts of India, this movie doesn’t wallow in self-pity. Instead it captures a spirit of hope that screams sincerity. With a fast-paced musical score, it may be an effective way to introduce privileged older teens to a life far too familiar to much of the world’s population. And while not every starving soul may get a shot at a game show windfall, the film still provides some important lessons. Persistence and staying true to your principles are valuable traits for everyone, regardless of whether they are from a slum or the home of a millionaire.

Starring Dev Patel, Anil Kopoor, Freida Pinto.. Running time: 120 minutes. Theatrical release January 23, 2009. Updated

Slumdog Millionaire
Rating & Content Info

Why is Slumdog Millionaire rated R? Slumdog Millionaire is rated R by the MPAA or some violence, disturbing images and language.

This look at the fictitious life of a young man who appears on India’s version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? deals with many mature situations and themes. Children are depicted living in a garbage dump before being abducted by adults claiming to operate an orphanage. Other scenes show children being physically abused, including having their eyes seared with heat and acid, and being beaten and verbally demeaned. Girls are groomed for sexual services, which are verbally discussed by adults and children throughout the film. Adults are also shown in violent situations involving knives, guns and hand-to-hand combat. Muslims (adults and children) are subjected to religious persecution—their homes are set on fire, some are beaten and people are seen with clothing in flames. A scene shows a young adult being tortured by electricity and near drowning (these tactics are administered by a police authority). Language includes two sexual expletives, about a dozen scatological slang words, some mild profanities and names of deity, along with some crude sexual anatomical terms. Alcohol and tobacco use is depicted, including by children and teens.

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Slumdog Millionaire Parents' Guide

What allows Jamal to continue his life with such perseverance? Is it love alone? Or are there other reasons for his determination?

Some have criticized this British/American film for portraying a stereotyped view of India and for capitalizing on the poor. Others say movies often show how struggling people can overcome challenges and make their lives better. Do you feel this production crosses ethical lines? What might some of the benefits of this story be? What are the negatives?


Home Video

The most recent home video release of Slumdog Millionaire movie is March 31, 2009. Here are some details…

Home Video Notes: Slumdog Millionaire

Release Date: 31 March 2009

Winner of the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards in 2009, Slumdog Millionaire is releasing to DVD and Blu-ray. Both formats are presented in widescreen and offer the following bonus extras:

-Slumdog Dreams: Danny Boyle & The Making of Slumdog Millionaire

-From Script To Screen: Toilet Scene

-Indian Short Film - Manjha

-Bombay Liquid Dance Music Video

-Commentary by Director Danny Boyle and Actor Dev Patel

-Commentary by Producer Christian Colson and writer Simon Beaufoy

-Slumdog Cutdown

-12 Deleted Scenes

The Blu-ray package also includes a digital copy of the movie. Audio tracks are available in 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio (English/Hindi). The DVD version is recorded in 5.1 Dolby Surround (English/ Hindi).


Related home video titles:

A young girl from an inner-city neighborhood uses her talent for spelling to better her future in Akeelah and the Bee. The desire for fame and fortune tempts both the constantans and the program creators in the movie Quiz Show, which is based on a true story. Some very incredible people have sacrificed everything in the hopes of making India a better home for her citizens. You can learn about their lives in the films Gandhi and Mother Teresa.