The Dry parents guide

The Dry Parent Guide

A gripping little mystery with less graphic violence than is usually found in the genre.

Overall C+

Digital on Demand: When a tragic murder-suicide drags Federal Agent Aaron Falk back to his Australian home town, he finds the community ravaged by seemingly unending drought and haunted by a decades-old murder.

Release date May 21, 2021

Violence C+
Sexual Content C
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is The Dry rated R? The MPAA rated The Dry R for violence, and language throughout.

Run Time: 117 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Like much of Australia, Kiewarra is in desperate need of rain. Years of severe drought have put the local farmers into an impossible position, but they don’t have many options. So when Luke Hadler (Martin Dingle Wall) is found dead with apparently self-inflicted gunshot wounds, and his wife Karen (Rosanna Lockhart) and son Billy (Jarvis Mitchell) are found dead in their home with similar wounds, the community assumes that Luke simply snapped from the stress. Luke’s childhood friend Aaron Falk (Eric Bana), now a Federal Agent, comes home for the funeral, but he quickly becomes involved in the investigation at the behest of Luke’s parents (Bruce Spence and Julia Blake), with some help from local police sergeant Greg Raco (Keir O’Donnell) and old friend Gretchen (Genevieve O’Reilly). And while the investigation drags on, Aaron begins to suspect it may be tied to the reason he left town in the first place: The mysterious drowning of yet another childhood friend, Ellie Deacon (BeBe Bettencourt) nearly 20 years ago…

Crime mysteries are very hit and miss. As a rule of thumb, if you can figure out who did it within the first half-hour, the movie is going to be pretty rough. Thankfully, The Dry managed to keep me guessing for the better part of the runtime. Either way, the cast does a pretty remarkable job. Eric Bana is restrained in his performance, but the choices he makes are clearly motivated by the character and the result is remarkably engaging. And, although he only has a minor role, I just love to see Bruce Spence in anything.

As far as parents are concerned, the largest issue here is likely to be the profanity, of which there is plenty. Although the violence sounds quite intense, very little is actually shown directly, and amounts to a very small portion of the runtime. This is a mystery and the focus is on the investigation, not some gruesome horror thriller with fountains of gore every now and then to keep the audience interested. However, this is still best suited to an adult audience, both for the content and for the slow-paced investigative plot.

There’s not much else I can say without giving up some of the twists and turns of the storyline, and since this is actually a well made film, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Provided you can stomach a little violence and a fair amount of fluent profanity, this is a gripping little mystery in a hard-up little town. Between the drought and the murders, there’s plenty going on here to keep you interested.

Directed by Robert Connolly. Starring Eric Bana, Genevieve O'Reilly, and Keir O'Donnell. Running time: 117 minutes. Theatrical release May 21, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for The Dry

The Dry
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Dry rated R? The Dry is rated R by the MPAA for violence, and language throughout.

Violence: Blood and dead bodies are seen. Three individuals are shot and killed. Two dead calves are seen and displayed as a threat. One character is struck repeatedly in the head with a rock. One person survives a self-immolation but severely injures two others. A character is drowned off-screen. Several people are bloodied in a bar fight, and one is seen receiving stitches on their face afterwards.
Sexual Content: Adults are shown kissing passionately. There are a few crude sexual references. There is a reference to incestuous child sexual abuse with no on-screen depictions and mercifully vague description.
Profanity: There are 33 sexual expletives, 7 scatological terms, and occasional mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults are frequently shown drinking socially. Teens are briefly seen drinking and smoking.

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The Dry Parents' Guide

Farming is hard, stressful, and risky work, and the emotional toll can be intense. The suicide rate among farmers is continuing to rise, especially in India. Even in America, the CDC has released studies suggesting that farmers are as much as 5 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population. What kind of support exists for farmers? What can we do to get them access to the mental health care that they clearly need?

National Farmers Union: A Deeper Look athe CDC Findings on Farm Suicides


Loved this movie? Try these books…

The Dry is based on a 2016 book of the same name by Jane Harper.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Murder investigations in small communities can get messy. For more of that, adults with an interest in the crime genre might want to try The Little Stranger, Hell or High Water, or Wind River. If you can stomach a lot more content, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoomight be a good choice. For a darkly comic version, Fargo is hard to beat, although Breaking News in Yuba County tried to get similar results.