Big question: Eight-year-old Chuyia (Sarala) is a widow (yes, widow) in 1938 India. She didn't even know she was married but is forced to spend the rest of her days among much older widows. Is this for real?
Catch it: Slow-moving and sad, "Water" is steeped in painful truth, as writer/director Deepa Mehta informs us, with these practices still pervading Indian society. It's a focused and troubling story that draws attention to a devastating real-life issue.
Skip it if: You're feeling drowsy. "Water" will drip you off to sleep.
Bottom line: "Water" doesn't fully capture the pain and hardship of these repressed women, but it's a powerful saga of the suppressive force of certain cultural customs. It easily washes away the temptation to dismiss the issue as a distant, irrelevant problem.
Bonus: Gear up for that summer 'do: The widows all have buzz cuts.
Directed and written by Deepa Mehta; photographed by Giles Nuttgens; edited by Colin Monie; production designed by Dilip Mehta; music by Mychael Danna; produced by David Hamilton. In Hindi, with English subtitles. A Fox Searchlight Pictures release; opens Friday at AMC Pipers Alley, AMC Streets of Woodfield, AMC South Barrington and Evanston Century Cinearts. Running time: 1:54. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for mature thematic material involving sexual situations and drug use).
Shakuntala - Seema Biswas
Kalyani - Lisa Ray
Narayan - John Abraham
Chuyia - Sarala
Madhumati - Manorama
Patiraji - Vidula JavalgekarCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times