The Shallows parents guide

The Shallows Parent Review

For fans of the human verses nature thriller, the film offers an idyllic location, ominous music, plenty of intense attack scenes and gallons and gallons of blood.

Overall B-

The water may not be very deep, nor the shore very far away, but reaching safety for a young woman (Blake Lively) stranded on a rocky outcrop still means having to brave the dangers of an encircling shark.

Violence C
Sexual Content B+
Profanity C
Substance Use B+

The Shallows is rated PG-13 for bloody images, intense sequences of peril, and brief strong language.

Movie Review

A paradisal (yes this spelling is correct) surfing trip to a secret beach turns bloody for Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) who is looking for solace after the untimely death of her mother. With her board in tow, the med school dropout has been traveling the world. Finally, with the help of a local (Óscar Jaenada), she finds her way to the Mexican shore where her mother went surfing after discovering she was pregnant with Nancy. Hoping to feel a connection to her mom, Nancy strips down to her bikini and hits the water.

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Only two other surfers are riding the waves in the secluded tropical bay. At the end of the day they offer to give Nancy a ride back to town but she opts to catch one more wave. Paddling out into the ocean, she unintentionally comes upon a shark devouring the floating carcass of a dead whale.

She scrambles to retreat but the shark strikes, leaving her boardless and bleeding from a jagged gash on her leg. As the shark continues to circle, Nancy climbs atop the decaying body of the whale to escape. At last, she manages to swim to a nearby outcropping of rock visible only during low tide. With just a few hours until the rocks are underwater again, Nancy pits her will against that of the shark.

Much like Tom Hanks in Castaway, Lively has to carry this film on her own with only an injured seagull for a co-star. (The other nameless actors become shark bait.) As a result, the dialogue is limited and punctuated with plenty of groans and whimpers as Nancy does her best to self-administer medical aid. Still, the feisty survivor spews out a brief gush of profanities (including a strong sexual expletive) when the shark makes its final deadly attack.

For fans of the human verses nature thriller, the film offers an idyllic location, ominous music, plenty of intense attack scenes and gallons and gallons of blood. Of course there are plot holes—the height of the water on the rock ebbs and flows to fit the situation—and Nancy pulls off some pretty amazing feats. Chalk that up to adrenaline. Yet the script avoids much of the cheesy gore found in teen thrillers like Shark Night. This is a story of survival against all odds. And in the end, Nancy proves she is a fighter just like her mother was.

However, if you’re the type who finds the musical score from Jaws is enough to make you nervous to enter the water, you might want to think twice about wading into The Shallows.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. Starring Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Sedona Legge. Running time: 87 minutes. Theatrical release June 24, 2016. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in The Shallows here.

The Shallows Parents Guide

While stuck on the rock, Nancy finds a Go-Pro camera and records a final message to her family. What would your final message be? Who would you send it to?

While driving through the jungle to the secret beach location, Nancy is focused on her phone. The driver tells her to put it away and look at the amazing scenes around outside. Why is it sometimes difficult to put down devices? What wonders do we miss when we are glued to our screens? How can you encourage yourself or others to appreciate the outdoors?

How does Nancy’s medical training help save her life? What basic life skills are important for a person to acquire?