Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Disturbing moments include a child nearly causing a playmate to drown; physical abuse between spouses (a man and woman attack each other verbally and with their arms and fists in a discomfortingly realistic fight); crimes such as tampering with evidence; racial conflict.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of it, and in all forms -- from verbal abuse to outright murder. A serial killer hunts down women and unceremoniously dumps a partially naked body into a lake. Also, children kill a pet, intending to use it for sacrifice. A man punches his pal on the nose and breaks it. One of the children keeps a dead bird that she presumably also killed.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A husband and wife have sex (though there's no nudity). Some talk of sex. A partially naked corpse.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Occasional use of everything from "damn" to "holy s--t" to "f--k."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Some product placement in the gas station, but nothing easily identifiable.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lots of alcohol. The four men guzzle beer on their fishing trip and at a party beforehand. Some shots of characters smoking.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this short story-based film is a bleak study of human cruelty in the form of emotional sabotage and actual murder. There are many violent episodes -- from the opening sequence in which a serial killer stalks his prey to a scene in which two children kill a pet to an emotionally jarring exchange in which a husband and wife fight each other with words and fists. Racism also rears its nasty head, and there are disturbing close-ups of a murdered woman. Characters drink, smoke, and swear. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Linney masters the intoxicating mix of shock, rage, and isolation that engulfs Claire; her performance is equaled only by Byrne's slow burn. Their relationship is true to Raymond Carver's trademark broken twosomes. The damage they inflict on each other -- and on their child -- is nearly as murderous as the dead woman's killer's gruesome handiwork. Had Lawrence gone so far as to show Stewart and Claire break each other down to their bitter and oh-so-human essence, Jindabyne would have been more courageous for it.
The movie is based on Raymond Carver's lean, Spartan story "So Much Water So Close to Home." Cinematographer David Williamson hews close to Carver's voice -- spare, taut, forceful. Through Williamson's lens, the forces of nature, human and otherwise, threaten to disturb the peace. But director Ray Lawrence moves far beyond Carver's restrained look at choice and consequence, embracing displaced grief, animism, and racism. All of which makes for a fascinating and deeply distressing -- but unfortunately less potent -- adaptation.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.