Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 17+
Powerful, edgy, but overlong film about search for identity.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Reluctant Fundamentalist's heavy themes -- including alienation, discrimination, terrorism (or the threat of it), economics, and geopolitical strife -- may minimize its appeal to teens. There's also some edgy/intense content, including kidnapping, shootings, demonstrations, and moments where violent pictures (like one of a man's face beaten to a pulp, his throat slashed) appear. There's also some swearing, including "s--t," social drinking, and sexuality (kissing, a couple rolling around in bed, with naked shoulders seen).
- Families can talk about what The Reluctant Fundamentalist is saying about political and ideological conflicts. What does it want viewers to think about?
- Talk to teens about the aftermath of 9/11 and how it changed America and the rest of the world. What other movies/media have dealt with this subject?
- Why do you think Changez changed his perspective? What contributed to his metamorphosis?
The good stuff
Positive messages: Sometimes, life takes you down roads you didn't mean to traverse. Decide whether you want to be on them -- though switching directions may not be easy and may require a lot of self-examination. The film also tackles weighty issues related to politics, identity, discrimination, and terrorism.
Positive role models: Both Changez and Bobby are questioning their basic assumptions about life and work, which isn't a bad thing. But they also can be very married to their beliefs, to the exclusion of others. Still, Changez seeks enlightenment, and though his journey is messy, that he's still seeking is admirable.
What to watch for
Violence: A man is kidnapped at gunpoint. Images of the Twin Towers being struck by planes are shown. A demonstration erupts, ending in gunfire. Soldiers and civilians are shown brandishing automatic weapons. Characters take pictures with their phones showing a man with his throat slit.
Sexy stuff: A couple is shown rolling around in bed, ostensibly naked, though viewers don't see much beyond bare shoulders. Some passionate kissing. Characters talk about sex.
Language: Fairly infrequent use of "ass," "s--t," "damn," and the like.
Consumerism: A man's iPhone keeps showing up in various scenes. Other brands seen include Sex and the City and Canon cameras.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social drinking (parties, mostly).