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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Be the narrator of your own story, and don't let labels or gossip define you. You're more resilient than you know. Themes of family and resilience, as well as honesty, courage, integrity, perseverance.
Positive Role Models
Characters have flaws (stubbornness, insecurity, etc.) but are generally well-intentioned. Shireen is the glue that holds her family together. When faced with adversity, she finds a way. When faced with prejudice, she finds opportunity. And when faced with heartbreak and devastating betrayal, she finds compassion. Leila is still finding herself, but what she does know of herself, she doesn't compromise. Leila's many family members are very supportive of one another.
Queer, female-forward story told by a queer female writer-director and a mostly female crew. Leila (Layla Mohammadi) is a first-generation Iranian American woman who self-identifies as a lesbian. Iranian American immigrant experience is central to the plot, as are Iranian customs, music, dance, cooking, beliefs, iconography, language. Women are the core of the story, are portrayed as strong, resourceful, acting with agency. A cisgender heterosexual male character who plays a drag queen in a Broadway show is kind, supportive, open-minded, vulnerable, and confident in his masculinity. While Leila's father is a doctor, most other doctors in the film are women. Most supporting actors are of AAPI or other non-White backgrounds.
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Violence & Scariness
Brief suicidal ideation. Guns pulled out to settle a score, but violence is avoided. Scary moments related to illness/health conditions, including the bloody and emotional delivery of a stillborn baby.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Passionate (and comical) foreplay, which leads to a "morning after" type shot. Characters discuss romantic feelings and relationships.
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Strong language includes "bitch," "damn," "goddamn," and several uses of "f--k." Siblings say "stupid" and "shut up." Middle-finger gesture. Some characters' racist attitudes are reflected by discriminatory comments about immigrants, including a White man referring to a diverse group of Asians as a "refugee camp."
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Products & Purchases
A pivotal moment involves Frosted Flakes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Smoking shown in scenes set in the 1960s–'80s, with consequences. Implication that a supporting character has a drug problem at one point.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Persian Version is an entertaining multigenerational dramedy about a large Iranian American immigrant family. Based partly on writer-director Maryam Keshavarz' own life, it centers on Leila (Layla Mohammadi), who's fighting for her more traditional parents to accept the fact that she's a lesbian while also trying to understand the mother (Niousha Noor) whom she both admires and despises. Keshavarz uses comedy to illuminate the challenges of being an Iranian living in the United States and of being a woman in a patriarchal society, as well as the complexity of mother-daughter relationships. Persian culture is central to the story, both in the present-day U.S.-set scenes and the ones that take place in 1960s Iran. A passionate make-out session leads to off-camera sex, and there are a few crude remarks, as well as swearing ("bitch," "f--k," "goddamn," etc.). Characters smoke in the scenes set in the 1960s–'80s, there's brief suicidal ideation, guns are pulled out to settle a score (but violence is avoided), and characters experience scary moments related to illness/health conditions, including the bloody and emotional delivery of a stillborn baby. But with messages about writing your own story, consciously breaking away from labels or gossips, and believing that you're more resilient than you know, it's a fantastic watch for teens. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Cinema is getting better and better at welcoming international, queer, and female stories, and thank goodness -- because Maryam Keshavarz' comedic family drama is all three in one. Absolutely funny, completely devastating, and hard-cry heartwarming, The Persian Version has a modern filmmaking approach that involves animation and dance numbers, with the light tone bringing balance to the heavier, more emotional scenes. Moviegoers of all backgrounds will be the better for seeing this edgy but fun, feel-good movie. Its fresh take on what it means to be an American will leave you smiling -- and hopefully open a door for mothers and daughters to see and appreciate each other for both their similarities and their differences.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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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