Caught by a Wave parents guide

Caught by a Wave Parent Guide

It's difficult to love a romance that can't provide a spark between the main characters.

Overall C

Netflix: Sara and Lorenzo fall in love at sailing camp one summer. But Sara's keeping a tragic secret...

Release date March 25, 2021

Violence A
Sexual Content C
Profanity B
Substance Use C

Why is Caught by a Wave rated TV-14? The MPAA rated Caught by a Wave TV-14

Run Time: 99 minutes

Parent Movie Review

At a summer sailing camp in Sicily, Sara (Elvira Camarrone) and Lorenzo (Christian Roberto) find themselves falling in love. As their relationship deepens, Sara struggles to keep a secret from Lorenzo: she has degenerative muscular dystrophy, which will eventually kill her. With her health deteriorating, Sara must decide what to do with her remaining time.

Have you ever spent an hour watching a movie, only to realize that nothing has happened in that time? That’s what watching Caught by a Wave is like. There are some major structural problems here. The first act, where Sara and Lorenzo meet and get together, is approximately 10 minutes long. With minimal build up to their relationship, it’s hard for viewers to feel any connection to the young couple or any investment in their relationship. The second act, which sees the duo spending time together as Sara’s health falters is approximately an hour long. The third act, where Sara makes a big decision about her life and there’s a climactic event, is also about 10 minutes long. The middle is so long and so boring and so uneventful I just can’t fathom how anyone approved this cut. Surely, director Massimiliano Camaiti could have taken pacing into consideration and edited accordingly so this movie could have enjoyed an actual story structure.

As if the structural problems aren’t enough, the two leads have zero chemistry. I don’t believe that they’re in love for a second. That’s not to say that they aren’t decent actors; they are. Unfortunately, there’s no discernible spark between them to convince the audience that they’re in a relationship. At no point does the story give us a reason for them to be together in the first place. We literally see them kiss within the first 10 minutes. Why do they like each other? It’s a mystery. By the end of the film Sara gets somewhat fleshed out as a character, but Lorenzo is left sadly flat and underdeveloped.

Since this story is aimed at teens, it’s worth discussing the content issues in some detail. Both adults and teens are seen smoking cigarettes at various points, and adults give teens alcohol during meals. I should point out that this is an Italian film, so it’s not a surprise that characters embrace Italy’s much more liberal attitudes towards alcohol consumption. If you decide that this movie is a good fit for your teens, this could provide an opportunity to discuss cultural attitudes to alcohol and smoking in the context of your own family’s beliefs. Drugs also come into the picture when a teenager takes an unknown drug at a club. Thankfully, this choice carries stiff consequences, with the boy kicked out of his sailing club and barred from the regatta he had trained for. Along with the substance use, it is subtly implied that Sara and Lorenzo have sex, but it is not obvious and never explicitly stated. As they are kissing at one point, Lorenzo asks, “Are you sure?” and Sara says yes. The scene cuts away soon after, so there is no sexual activity seen. A relatively naïve viewer might miss the implication entirely.

The movie is originally filmed in Italian, but Netflix has it dubbed in multiple languages including English. I watched about half in the original Italian with English subtitles and the other half with English dubbing, and both were perfectly watchable. In this case, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

Overall, Caught by a Wave is an average teen romance, but its structural issues and underdeveloped characters make it boring and forgettable. The Italian seaside vistas are stunning, but that’s not enough to save this devastatingly mediocre production.

Directed by Massimiliano Camaiti. Starring Elvira Camarrone, Christian Roberto, Donatella Finocchiaro. Running time: 99 minutes. Theatrical release March 25, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for Caught by a Wave

Caught by a Wave
Rating & Content Info

Why is Caught by a Wave rated TV-14? Caught by a Wave is rated TV-14 by the MPAA

Violence: None.
Sexual Content: A teen couple kisses throughout the movie. A teen couple kiss and the boy moves his hand up her thigh. It is vaguely implied that they have sex, but there is nothing shown, and it’s not explicitly stated.
Profanity: One mild profanity. A couple uses of terms of deity. The middle finger gesture is used a couple times. Some mild name calling such as “idiot”.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Both adults and teens are seen smoking cigarettes multiple times. Teens and adults drink wine with dinner. A girl makes a sarcastic joke about getting high. A teen boy takes an unknown drug at a club, acts intoxicated, and collapses.

Page last updated

Caught by a Wave Parents' Guide

Why does Sara choose to participate in the regatta, even though it could potentially have consequences for her health? Why does Sara keep her condition a secret from Lorenzo initially? What is she afraid of?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

There’s an entire genre of “sick weepy” romances geared at teenage girls. In A Walk to Remember, bad boy Landon falls for church girl Jamie, only to discover that she is keeping a tragic secret. When Daryn learns that the girl he loves has cancer, he decides to provide her with a lifetime’s worth of milestones in Life in a Year.

Real life also provides love stories that are tested by illness. In a true story, Zach Sobiech has terminal cancer but he decides to fulfill his dreams in the time he has left. Clouds recounts how a song he composed became a hit that inspired millions of people. Also based on real events, Shadowlands recounts the relationship between famous author C.S. Lewis and his wife Joy Gresham, who developed bone cancer. In I Still Believe, Christian singer Jeremy Camp stays beside his Melissa, after her devastating diagnosis. When Sol is diagnosed with liver cancer, his fiancée, Jenn, sets out to make sure they have the wedding they have always wanted in All My Life.