Still the Water parents guide

Still the Water Parent Guide

This production moves as slowly as a Canadian spring.

Overall C-

Digital on Demand: Brought back together after family conflict tore them apart, the MacAulay brothers are still battling their old demons.

Release date April 27, 2021

Violence B-
Sexual Content B
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Still the Water rated Not Rated? The MPAA rated Still the Water Not Rated

Run Time: 100 minutes

Parent Movie Review

I’ll begin by saying that the most notable thing about Still the Water is its location – Canada’s Prince Edward Island. If you’re expecting the PEI of tourist brochures or the Anne of Green Gables series, you’re in for a surprise. Yes, there are beautiful seascapes with waves washing against red cliffs. Yes, there are charming scenes of brightly colored homes along the bay. But this story takes place at the grimy end of winter, so everything looks as gray and chilly as the family relationships that unfold across the screen.

The three MacAulay brothers – Jordie, Nicky, and Noah – are at the center of the plot. Jordie, rootless and angry, has just been thrown off another hockey team for fighting. Tired of sleeping in the back of his truck, he heads back to the Malpeque peninsula where he grew up. There, his brother Nicky – married, cheating, and angry – reluctantly allows him to stay in a house he’s looking after until it sells. And the youngest brother, Noah – bright-eyed and chatty - welcomes him home like an excited puppy.

Jordie eases back into life in Malpeque, playing on the community hockey team, working in the family shipbuilding business, and going out on the fishing boats. But the family tensions that drove him away from home years ago haven’t disappeared and eventually they burst forth with added venom fostered by years of hurt and bitterness.

Still the Water is not an exciting film. It has little action but lots and lots of emotional angst. I’m not averse to emotional drama, but pacing and believability are critical and this film lacks both. The production moves as slowly as the emergence of a Canadian spring. In fact, sitting through this movie feels like watching snow melt. It takes forever, it can be dull, and you’re desperately looking for something green under the slush. Therein lies the second problem. The plot isn’t green or fresh; it has that “I’m sure I’ve seen this story before” vibe that you get from soap operas.

On top of these issues, the movie also has negative content, particularly repeated scenes of alcohol abuse. Main characters frequently use alcohol to cope with emotional distress, they often get drunk, and one even drives under the influence on several occasions and faces no consequences for his reckless behavior. Profanity is another problem, with over 50 swear words, including fourteen sexual expletives. And although there is no explicit sexual behavior, an adulterous relationship is an important plot point. Unusually for film, the adultery isn’t romanticized and the pain it causes to the betrayed wife is clearly shown.

Despite its problems, Still the Water isn’t a dead loss. On top of its lovely scenery, the movie is the cinematic equivalent of a public service announcement warning about the long term damage caused by domestic abuse. And it strongly advocates working through heartache and expressing feelings rather than bottling them up. Themes of forgiveness, second chances, and family unity dominate the story – and those are messages that resonate anywhere in the world; not just on a tiny speck of red earth in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Directed by Susan Rodgers. Starring Ry Barrett, Colin Price, and Spencer Graham. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release April 27, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for Still the Water

Still the Water
Rating & Content Info

Why is Still the Water rated Not Rated? Still the Water is rated Not Rated by the MPAA

Violence:  There are several hockey fights, featuring punching, hitting, and shoving; injuries are seen afterwards. Young siblings slap and shove each other. There’s non-explicit reference to the accidental death of a child. There’s mention of a man’s knee being smashed with a baseball bat. A man throws a beer bottle at another character. There are mentions of violent domestic assault by a father against his wife and children. A man clutches a knife and draws blood. A man is almost drowned in a fishing accident that sees him swept overboard.
Sexual Content:   A bare-chested man gets dressed. A character wearing rubber gloves jokes about “a physical”. There are a few occasions where characters make vague innuendos about sexual behavior. A bra is seen on a laundry line. A married man has an adulterous relationship; he’s seen kissing the woman but there is no explicit sexual material. A man and woman kiss.
Profanity:  Characters swear frequently, with at least 14 sexual expletives, 15 terms of deity, a dozen scatological curses, and over a dozen minor swear words and crude anatomical terms.
Alcohol / Drug Use:  A main character buys a beer in a bar but he isn’t shown drinking it. There’s brief mention of a character’s history of alcoholism. People are seen holding beer bottles in a bar. A man holds a glass of beer in a restaurant. A man drinks and drives on a couple of occasions and is seen very drunk on one of them. A man plays hockey while drunk. Main characters frequently drink alcohol to cope with strong emotions.

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Still the Water Parents' Guide

Domestic abuse is at the heart of this story. For more information about how to receive help if you or someone you care about is in an abusive relationship, click on these links.

USA: National Domestic Violence Hotline

Canada: Ending Violence: Find Help Across Canada

UK: Women’s Aid: Information and Support


Home Video

Related home video titles:

Domestic violence is addressed in other movies. Herself tells an Irish story of a mother who flees her abusive partner and then must find a safe place to live with her daughters. It moves into the horror genre in The Invisible Man.

Hockey gets screen time in The Mighty Ducks and Miracle.

Complex fraternal relationships take central stage in A River Runs Through It, Thor: Ragnarok, Twins, and Dan In Real Life.