Director Prarthana Mohanctor brings to the screen a refreshing coming of age story that will resonate with viewers both old, young, regardless of race. A film that shines a light on an uncertain time for any teenager seeking acceptance and belonging. Even you never had a painful high school experience; you either knew someone like Bindu or the type of classmates that seem to make everyone’s life a hellish nightmare.
So much of Bindu’s experience reminded me of my experience in high school coming from the West Indies. Not the bullying but the awkwardness of understanding the American accents and slang.
Bindu(Megan Suri, The Brink)15 attends into an American school. But all she wants to do is be homeschooled. Even though she hates hearing her mother(played by Priyanka Bose) and stepfather (played by David Arquette) having sex. Anything is better than facing school bullies and trying to fit in. All she needs is to take one Spanish test that will allow her to opt out of school. But her mother refuses to sign. Like a typical teenager, she forces her mother’s signature to take a Spanish test that will allow her to opt out of school.
However, there is a fee that must be paid by 5 pm, and you guessed it, Bindu has no money. Reluctantly she calls her stepdad for the money by telling him it’s for the school dance. He is so excited that she is adapting to the high school experience but can’t leave work early. David Arquette does a beautiful job as the playful but sometimes naive stepdad as he attempts to bond with Bindu.
The MisEducation of Bindu, funny and heartwarming a film that will stand the test of time.
Bindu employs the help of Peter (Phillip Labes, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), her only friend. They begin a shake-down of the students, from charging money to do homework to smoking marijuana on a paid dare.
Things, however, spiral out of control, and the ramifications cause shame, perceived actions that create lost of trust between friends and parents. Bindu is more than just a coming of age story, its more than a high school bullying film, its more than a front-row view of an immigrant or cultural experience. In my opinion, it is about self-acceptance, friendship, and, most importantly, it’s about love.
We wrote it because we were sick of them. You know, “Coming of Age” stories featuring guys and their all too familiar problems in high school. In the end, they have a happy ending where the protagonist learns to deal with love, friendship, and conquering puberty! .All that heartwarming stuff.
But that’s not how we grew up. For both of us women, we didn’t see any protagonists who went through puberty like we did—all the girls in Film and TV seemed to wake up one day beautiful and perfect. Not us. Where was the agony? The terribly awkward?
There were hardly any characters that spoke like us, looked like us, and had experiences that resonated with us. Characters who could let us know we weren’t alone. And that’s what united us to create The Miseducation of Bindu. While we could identify with those painfully hard years of high school, Prarthana provided conflicting realities of being a young girl growing up in a conservative family from India.
Experiences of a girl caught, not only between girlhood and womanhood but a girl with a foot in India’s traditional past and the promise of a global future where she can blend in to be whomever she wants to be. From that self-conscious discomfort, we met and fell in love with our painfully bright, awkward heroine: Bindu, a 15-year-old Indian girl.
We loved Bindu for the pureness of her emotions and feared for her as she approached the hallowed halls of public high school, completely unprepared for what came next. We united our voices and wrote the coming-of-age yearning inside of us.
The Miseducation of Bindu was inspired by A Girl’s Own Story and Welcome to the Dollhouse because they each have a voice to show unflinching brutal awkwardness of young women coping with sexuality, and Napoleon Dynamite because of the film’s ability to scrutinize the numerous bizarre facets of life—and laugh at the truth of it.