A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The main takeaway seems to be that Mother Nature, water, ice, and the oceans are powerful forces that make humans look insignificant. It's both awe-inspiring and terrifying.
Positive Role Models
Some folks help others getting their cars out of the icy water, but otherwise, there are few people here, let alone role models.
Violence & Scariness
A car cracks through ice and goes under water. Two people climb out; they yell that a third has drowned under the ice. There's an attempt to break the ice and rescue him, but it's unsuccessful. (No death actually shown.) Blood on person's face. Yelling. Sudden booming sounds. Alarms and sirens. Intense images of floods, storms, etc.
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Products & Purchases
Prominent Pepsi ad. Shot of a Hilton Hotel.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Person smokes a cigarette.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Aquarela is a documentary about the immense power of water, demonstrating how humans are insignificant compared to it, especially in this age of climate change. It's a visual spectacle: Shot at 96 frames per second and projected in theaters at 48 frames per second, with an ultrarealistic feel, watching it is like looking out a window. Expect some intense moments, such as when a car crashes through the ice, and two people climb out of the icy water claiming that a third has drowned. A rescue attempt is made, but the third person never comes up. A person is shown with blood on his face. There are also some shocking, sudden booming sounds, loud noises, sirens, and alarms, and the movie has many troubling images of floods, storms, etc. Cigarette smoking is seen. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Filmed all over the world, this nearly wordless documentary shows Mother Nature at her most beautiful and most enraged; it will make humans feel insignificant by comparison. Kossakovsky captured footage for Aquarela in Scotland, Mexico, Russia, Greenland, Venezuela, Portugal, and various cities in the United States, as well as the Atlantic Ocean. He used a special 96 frames-per-second rate, which -- in theaters that are showing the film at 48 frames per second -- results in a kind of hyper-realistic look, much like looking out a window. This technique can be disorienting in fiction movies, but it works great for a documentary like this one.
Except for the overall theme of water and the threat of a changing climate, the movie's segments aren't directly connected to one another. And without a story or narration or dialogue, it's easy to zone out on the pretty images. But Kossakovsky's choice to use a bombastic heavy metal music score sometimes makes it difficult to get in tune with the images; it's jarring and adds a despairing harshness to the things we're seeing. Still, Aquarela is a powerful experience overall. It's neither hopeful nor hopeless. It simply asserts that we humans are small, and the planet is big. Regardless of political beliefs, or whether you believe in climate change, none of it will matter when the waters come.
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.