Queen of the Beach (2019)

While on vacation in Goa, India, Canadian filmmaker Chris McDonell turns his camera on Shilpa Poojar, a 9-year-old girl hustling tourists to buy clothes and jewelry from her seaside shop.

The girl is a migrant worker from the unique Banjara tribe and the primary breadwinner for her family. Somehow, Chris feels a connection to her and comes back three times over the next seven years to tell her story. He feels like if he can help her get to school, he can change her life. But can it happen that way? Will her family allow her to discover her dreams? Once you become addicted to the hustle, can you give it up?

I’m not sure how I feel about this movie, to be perfectly honest. I want to believe that the director was truly altruistic, but then I wonder why he decided to turn this story into a movie instead of it just being a private analog moment.

That said, your mileage may vary and you may have less cynicism in your heart than I do. From the looks of the official Facebook page, Shilpa is leading a happy life and directly attributes that to McDonell, so perhaps things can be positive in this world.


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