This discussion guide is designed to be used after you’ve seen the film She Has a Name. It raises questions to discuss with your (Bible) group, although it is also possible to work on these questions in self-study. The guide contains minor spoilers and we therefore recommend you to watch the film before reading on. This is our first Discussion Guide and we’d love to hear what you think! You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Power of Names
As the title suggests, names play an important role in She Has a Name. Discuss the meaning of names.
- What does your name mean? Do you know why your parents chose it for you? Do you think it suits you?
- Jason explains his name means ‘healer’. Does this name suit him? Why?
- What’s the biblical meaning of the number eighteen? Why do you think it was chosen for Number 18?
- We never learn “Number 18’s” real name. Why do you think the writers chose not to reveal it? What would you call her?
Names in the Bible
Read Genesis 2:19-23. Adam is granted the right to name the animals. Reflect on the following topics.
- Why is it important for living beings to have a name?
- Who has the right to name and to change names in the Bible?
- Who is doing the naming in your life? Do you agree with their position?
The Reality of Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is the main theme of She Has a Name and a major global issue. Discuss the depiction in the film, the Bible and how you can contribute to ending it.
- We learn a little about the backstory of Number 18 and Mae. Discuss how you imagine their life stories.
- Number 18 is confident in her work when Jason meets her. Why do you think she behaves like this?
- Mamma points out to Jason that fighting the issue has no use. When one brothel is closed another will open. Do you agree?
The Bible and slavery
Read Genesis 9:18-27 and Ephesians 6:5-7. When slavery was still legal, these Bible verses were used to justify it. Most (American) slaveholders identified as Christians. But the Bible has also always been used to condemn slavery. Discuss this difficult topic.
- Why do you think the Bible was used to justify slavery?
- Do you agree that these verses justify it?
- Find (other) verses that condemn slavery. How would you use the Bible to fight human trafficking?
- Can you name specific examples of modern-day slavery?
- Can you think of (small) ways you can contribute to minimising human trafficking?
(Political) Power and Corruption
In She Has a Name we meet several highly placed people who take bribes or who take advantage of the situation, but there are also people who fight for what’s right. We highlight three characters in the film. Discuss why these people behave the way they do and what could potentially change their behaviour.
US Ambassador Steven is a visitor of The Pearl and friends with Akkarat, who also arranges weekends away for him and his friends. It is unclear whether his actions will be revealed or whether they’ll get covered up.
Senator Janet Mitchell
The senator asks Marta to lead a task force to investigate the case of the deceased migrants. It’s evident that the case is sensitive, especially considering a major trade deal between the US and Thailand (and other countries). The investigation is cancelled after it is revealed that the US ambassador had “business” meetings at The Pearl.
Jason’s cover is blown, though it seems no coincidence that this happens after the trade deal has been accepted.
Throughout the film police officer Victor can not be persuaded by bribes, despite his superiors suggesting that he should. He believes in what he’s fighting for and is willing to give his life to achieve it.
Power and abuse in the Bible
Read 1 Samuel 8. The Israelites ask Samuel for a king. Samuel warns them that this king will not treat them well. Despite this warning the Israelites repeat the request and God agrees with all its consequences.
- Power and abuse are often linked. Think of people in power (in your surroundings). Can you think of examples of abuses of power? Or of people using their power for good?
- Think of yourself in a position of power, perhaps at work or in your family. Have you ever been tempted to take a bribe (“I’ll be good if you give me a sweet”)? What made you take it or not take it? Have you ever abused your power? Do you think you could be tempted to?
- How do we become great leaders? Can we always set the right example? Can bribery ever be acceptable?
She Has a Name and Faith
Despite not being a faith-based film, She Has a Name has been particularly popular with Christian viewers.
- Why do you think this is the case?
- What can Christians learn from this story?
- Would you recommend this film to your friends, and why?