MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: +2 1/2

Note: This film is "Not Rated" by the MPAA. The PG rating is an estimate based on content.

Cast: Lisa Ray, John Abraham, Seema Biswas, Sarala. Written and Directed by Deepa Mehta. Limited release.

Set in 1938 Colonial India, against Mahatma Gandhi's rise to power, Water begins when 8-year-old Chuyia is widowed and sent to a home where Hindu widows must live in penitence. Chuyias feisty presence deeply affects the lives of the other residents, including a young widow, who falls for a Gandhian idealist, which causes the widows to question their faith and future.

With its exotic locales, involving storyline, and insightful look into the religious and social status of the people of India, this amazing, if somewhat depressing, foreign film (with subtitles) is like National Geographic come to life.

That said, the storyline runs second to its insights concerning Indias way of life. The viewer will garner a look into the daily life of the Indian people, especially the womens role. The female of the race is so subjugated to males and their religion that even a little girl can be married off, and if her husband dies she must live out her life banished from her former family. The rejected women need find any way possible to survive, including the prostituting of one of their own in order that the others may carry on.

While I am against the belittling of anyones beliefs, the Hindu way of life is beyond modern Western comprehension. Cows roam free, regarded as holy, while people starve. Dogs are a bad omen, people bow down to toy-sized idols, masses live in poverty and misery, their religion offering little hope other than reincarnation into the same grueling existence. It has been so for hundreds of years. And when Gandhi offered his countrymen a way out of English dominated rulership through passive resistance, he stated that he once believed God is truth, then amended that conviction to Truth is God. This contrived concept of the Creator only further led souls from a true understanding of Gods nature.

There is a tragic irony to this man many believed to be Indias messiah. It is reported that in his search for spiritual knowledge, Gandhi examined Christianity, only to harden to it because English churchgoers, feeling superior, did not want the Indian in their worship service. Had he been welcomed with open arms as Christ wills, the religious and communal landscape of that nation might well have been different.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Fox Searchlight

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: One of the women discusses sex in crude terms three or four times.

Obscene Language: This same woman, an elder among the group, bitter, sad and dominating, uses the two b-words on several occasions referring to men and women, but I caught no other coarse language.

Profanity: None

Violence: The little girl struggles against the older women when she is first brought to the house, unaware of her fate. She has her hair shaved off, a custom of the widows. A young woman is held against her will, her beautiful hair also chopped off.

Sex: A woman must prostitute herself on behalf of the others, but it is implied. It is also implied that the little girl, about 8 years old, is also to be used as a prostitute. She is brought to the perverts house. (No sexual act is seen.) In horror, one of the other ladies rescues her after the deed is done.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: A couple of conversations about sex are heard.

Drugs: The bitter woman is seen smoking a narcotic.

Other: There are some things difficult to watch as the film presents a realistic view of women with little to no rights.

Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.