Born Into Brothels

Critics Consensus

A powerful and uplifting documentary.



Total Count: 107


Audience Score

User Ratings: 13,952
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Movie Info

This film is a portrait of a group of unforgettable children in Calcutta's red light district. Feisty, resilient and wickedly funny, they are the children of prostitutes. Trying to evade a doomed future, they embark on a transformational journey with New York-based photographer Zana Briski, who teaches them how to take pictures with cameras she provides. This humorous and heartfelt story portrays the power of art and the courage of those willing to change their own lives.


Critic Reviews for Born Into Brothels

All Critics (107) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (102) | Rotten (5)

  • Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman's Born Into Brothels is both sustained and ultimately sunk by its lofty intentions.

    Sep 29, 2017 | Full Review…
  • One feels manipulated rather than enlightened.

    Mar 11, 2005 | Rating: 3/5
  • A beautifully made essay on a filmmaker's efforts to teach the children of Calcutta's prostitutes the fine art of photography.

    Mar 11, 2005 | Rating: 4/5
  • The film says all it needs to say through the photos of the kids and their excited, wide-eyed reactions when they realize the outside world is paying attention to them.

    Mar 11, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
  • Born Into Brothels is great humanitarianism, but it's not great filmmaking.

    Feb 24, 2005 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • Beautifully filmed, and devoid of the kind of patronizing beneficence that First Worlders often bring to the Third World.

    Feb 24, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/4

Audience Reviews for Born Into Brothels

  • Jan 03, 2010
    Heartbreaking especially when you consider that the kids aren't saved. We need to put an end to this.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 06, 2009
    A story and a message that should be told as much as possible. My Mother tends to say, do whatever you want, but when a Hungry Human is standing infront of your Door no matter if he/she your foe, never send them away hungry. Feed them.
    Wahida K Super Reviewer
  • Feb 03, 2009
    An unforgettable documentary capturing the dark underbelly of poverty and forced prostitution within the Red Light District of Calcutta, India. The movie focuses on the sons and daughters of prostitutes who hope and dream for a better life. Definitely a heart-breaker! Personally, I teared up a lot.
    Dannielle A Super Reviewer
  • Jan 17, 2009
    A hard watch but a story that needed to be told.
    Randy T Super Reviewer

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