A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Themes of compassion and empathy toward family. A focus on the courage to follow your dreams, even if those dreams go against what others might want.
Positive Role Models
Sisters Sam and Maryam have to realize that the lives their mother Khala wants for them isn't what they want -- and that's OK. Sam in particular clashes with her mother about living her own life, and Maryam realizes that following her dreams is important, even if it means other relationships have to end. Cousin Ameera also comes to terms with the fact that her own dream (marrying a rich Pakistani doctor) might not be what she wants after all, leading her to find her true love elsewhere. Sam also realizes that achieving her goal of being a leader at her company might mean she has to compromise her morals (which isn't OK). The family demonstrates compassion and understanding with one another when they realize they've hurt each other's feelings over past resentments.
Written and directed by and stars Pakistani and South Asian women and focuses on showing a snippet of what contemporary Pakistani women face as they grow up in America. Godfrey, a Black comedian, co-stars as Gabriel, representing the intersection of Muslim identity and African American racial identity. Film also tackles the racism and colorism that still exist in some South Asian families, demonstrating why such views should be challenged. Some Pakistani characters encounter racism, and various characters make racial remarks. Some are intended to be funny (such as Ameera and Gabriel using the term "kala," a Pakistani derogatory term about Black men, in a funny conversation just between them), and others seem meant to have an educational purpose for viewers (as when Khala uses broad discriminatory language and stereotypes about Black people, such as thinking they're crooks, in order to demonstrate the complex nature of racism in America). A White politician (George Wendt) uses broad discriminatory language about immigrants, and a Pakistani character whom Ameera meets during a speed date uses the derogatory term "Paki" to talk about Pakistani women.
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Violence & Scariness
A White man accosts the two sisters and tells them to go back to their country. Sam retaliates by throwing her coffee cup at him; he moves to physically hurt them before a cop Sam is involved with shows up.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sam is shown in bed with a man who's naked from the torso up. Sexual humor regarding two characters talking about women's pubic hair.
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Strong language includes "damn it," "ass," "bulls--t," and "a--hole." A character uses the phrase "lady balls." Some use of racially charged terms, including Pakistani word "kala" and derogatory term "Paki" (said by a Pakistani character).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Americanish is a romantic dramedy that follows three young women -- two Pakistani American sisters and their cousin from Pakistan -- as they encounter the ups and downs of love and life in Queens, New York. Written and directed by South Asian women, the film authentically focuses on Pakistani American life. It shows how different minority groups can have positive interactions and relationships by learning to look past assumptions and prejudice. It also promotes the importance of balancing family with self-actualization. Strong language includes swearing ("damn it," "ass," "bulls--t," "a--hole") and derogatory racial terms, typically used to illustrate a point or educate viewers. Characters drink and are shown in bed together, with a man's bare torso seen. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This romantic dramedy packs a lot into its hour-and-a-half runtime, telling a fulfilling story about love, growth, and family. Americanish shares the Pakistani American perspective with viewers -- one that's often represented inaccurately or is full of stereotypes perpetuated by non-Pakistani creators. Here, viewers who aren't already familiar with the topic can learn not only some of what Pakistani American and South Asian Americans go through in the United States in terms of racism, but they can also learn how racist thoughts get perpetuated, even among minority groups. And then there's the fact that the movie deals with the broadly relatable struggle of trying to achieve your dreams while balancing familial relationships. Overall, Americanish is a funny, thoughtful, and heartfelt film that will leave you feeling happy after the credits roll.
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Our Editors Recommend
Movies with Asian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Characters
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