Religion is not absent from the film, although it expressed through the boys’ Muslim experience. “God is good” and “God is great” they say to each other, while one confesses, “O Lord, forgive me, for I know that I have sinned.” Jamal, Samir and Latika also believe in ideas of destiny, and repeat the mantra “it is written” several times.

These comments and elements are more on the periphery of the story than at its center. The film is not interested in religion as a driving force in the lives of its characters. Instead, it settles for that most tried and true movie plotline, “love conquers all,” as Dev pursues Latika through the years. As the film winds toward the final game-show question and the story’s climax, we learn of Jamal’s motivation for appearing on the program and of the fate of his relationship with Latika.

Slumdog Millionaire is a tapestry of Indian culture, including elements of Bollywood musicals that offer moments of joyous outbursts. Its pulsating soundtrack and more disturbing moments aren’t for all tastes, but mature audiences looking for a feel-good story will find much to admire here. It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s an easy movie with which to fall in love.

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  • Language/Profanity:  Boys say “Oh, sh--,” but the word is cut off; a boy extends his middle finger at someone; crude reference to the female sex organ; some other foul language.
  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Smoking; drinking by young teens.
  • Sex/Nudity:  A young boy, naked, jumps out of bed; he’s teased by other children who say he has “chilies on his willie”; young boys taunt a pursuer by thrusting their hips toward him; a man and woman entangled on a mattress appear to be making love; a gangster has young women as sexual servants.
  • Violence/Disturbing Imagery:  During an interrogation, a man is beaten, strung up, and given electric shocks, and comments are made about violating his rights; he spits blood; a boy jumps into a pool of human waste; a man tosses a child aside, and the child strikes the man; a boy vomits as scalding hot liquid is poured into another boy’s eye sockets; blinding liquid is thrown in a man’s face; boys fall from a moving train; a boy wields a gun to gain power over others; a knife is pressed against a throat; a man urinates at a urinal.
  • Religion:  Rioters set upon a Muslim village in India, beat and kill men and women, and burn their village; a character says “God is good” and “God is great”; a character says, “O, Lord, forgive me, for I know that I have sinned; “it is written” is repeated several times, almost as a mantra.