The Guardian Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
While countless employees are content to swim around in the office shark tank, there are a few—-and only a few—-willing to put their lives on the line for others. The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers are a part of the select group.
Jumping into towering ocean waves to retrieve stranded sailors, these specially qualified men and women ignore their own safety and comfort in favor of complete strangers. They train, work and breathe by the motto “So Others May Live.”
But not everyone makes it; sometimes even the Coast Guard loses their own. Following a tragic accident that kills his crew, celebrated swimmer Ben Randall (Kevin Costner) is taken out of the water and reassigned to teach at the department’s elite training school. Yet even in the classroom, Ben discovers someone who needs rescuing.
Jake Fischer (Ashton Kutcher) is a cocky high school record holder who’s out to prove what he can do in the pool. More interested in setting times and hitting on girls than saving lives, the young hot shot needs a strong hand to guide him. Luckily Ben’s unconventional, hard-nosed tutoring methods and his willingness as an instructor to go the extra mile prove to be just what the student needs.
However, the real test comes when Jake is sent out on his first solo mission in the frigid waters off the coast of Alaska. Hovering in a helicopter over the turbulent waters, the new graduate puts his skills to trial.
Although both men are stellar during a crisis, in their off-duty hours they face personal challenges. Ben’s marriage to Helen (Selma Ward) is failing and Jake is involved in a casual relationship with a schoolteacher (Melissa Sagemiller) that revolves around frequent, casual sex with no commitment. Unfortunately the sexual antics, some profanities including a strong sexual expletive and the men’s frequent drinking habits, are distracting sidelines to these swimmers’ otherwise heroic actions.
Still, for older audiences, the willingness of Ben Randall and the new cadets to retrieve the stranded, the injured and even the foolhardy, provides a strong example of committed service. The film also invokes a greater appreciation for the real life guardians of the sea who put it all on the line when a distress call comes in.Starring Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher. Running time: 139 minutes. Theatrical release September 28, 2006. Updated February 13, 2012
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Guardian rated PG-13? The Guardian is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of action/peril, brief strong language and some sensuality.
The students and teachers at the Coast Guard’s school work hard and drink hard, although the lingering effects of alcohol seem to disappear when they respond to a crisis call. During a rescue attempt, a helicopter explodes killing several crewmembers, severely burning another and pulling a man underwater. Numerous dead bodies are seen. Casual sex is portrayed between two young adults. Profanities, along with a strong sexual expletive, and brief sexual comments are included.
Page last updated February 13, 2012
The Guardian Parents' Guide
What impact can a rescue worker’s job have on his or her family? What personal strain might be caused when these personnel have to make life or death decisions?
What teaching techniques does Randall employ to weed out the weaker candidates at the training school? Are these methods too harsh or are they necessary for the job?
Randall and Fischer do more than save people from the ocean. In what ways do they rescue one another? What does Randall mean when he tells the cadets to “honor your gift, save the ones you can and let the others go”?
Maggie, the bartender, says getting old is earned. What does she mean? How does she feel about her wrinkles and graying hairs? What lessons does age bring?
The most recent home video release of The Guardian movie is January 22, 2007. Here are some details…
The Guardian splashes down on DVD with an alternate ending (introduced by director Andrew Davis) and an audio commentary (also with director Andrew Davis). Two featurettes are included as well: Making Waves (the making of The Guardian) and Unsung Heroes (a tribute to the real-life Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers). Audio tracks are available in English, French and Spanish (all Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround), with subtitles in French and Spanish.
Related home video titles:
A group of sailors get caught in The Perfect Storm when a dying hurricane collides with two other weather systems off the eastern coast of the United States. When one of their own is trapped in a burning building, firefighters take gallant measures to rescue their colleague in Ladder 49. The 1951 movie The Frogmen tells the story of another elite group of swimmers who were a vital part of the World War II fighting effort.