A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It's OK to be sad, and it's OK to not have the answers and just want someone to listen. Know that you can find help and others who are going through similar situations. You don't have to face things on your own.
Positive Role Models
Rose's swim instructor Henry is extremely patient. He reminds her each lesson that she'll learn to swim and makes her feel comfortable and praised with each small accomplishment. He continually tells her that he has her and he won't let go until she's ready.
Violence & Scariness
Yelling and shouting between main character Rose and her boyfriend, Frank. Flashback to an argument with yelling and screaming between Rose and her son (no visuals). Another flashback includes Rose's daughter yelling and upset about an event that happened, but it's never actually said what that event is (and, again, no visuals -- just audible content).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two characters kiss and sleep in the same bed. A woman wears a cleavage-revealing shirt.
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Occasional use of words including "f--k," "s--t, "f--king," etc.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character smokes a cigarette while drinking alcohol. It's insinuated that she has had the whole bottle because it's empty; she then vomits into the toilet. The main character talks about her son using drugs and putting needles in his arms.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Drowning centers on a woman named Rose (Melora Walters, who also wrote and directed) who's so emotionally tied to her children's well-being that she's unable to live her own life. This may be difficult for younger viewers to relate to or really understand. Rose's son is in the military, and she talks about being concerned about him dying. And whenever she's in her car, she listens to news reports about the war in Iraq. The discussions of death, war, and killings may be a little scary for younger kids. There are also scenes of Rose struggling in the water and almost drowning. The characters occasionally use words like "f--k," "s--t," "f--ked up," etc. Characters talk about drug use, and one is shown drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. There are some positive messages, including that it's OK to be sad and grieve for your children and that it's OK to not have the answers and just want someone to listen. The film also suggests that's important to find people who are going through a similar situation so that you don't have to go through challenges alone. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This glimpse into the life of a mother who's figuratively drowning in grief and sadness is a bit slow and somewhat disjointed. While Drowning does do a nice job of showing how a parent can get so anxious about their children's well-being that they lose themselves, the movie's pacing, along with minimal to no interaction between Rose and other characters, makes this rather short film seem to drag. It's unclear what the backstory is regarding Rose's relationships with her son and daughter -- and how her son went from using drugs to joining the military. Rose also keeps apologizing to her son, so viewers don't understand what, other than him joining the military, caused to her to focus all her attention on making sure that he and her daughter are safe.
Parents, especially those whose family members have been deployed, may be able to relate to some of the emotions that Rose is going through. And despite its faults, Drowning has worthy things to say about accepting sadness, coming to terms with what you can control, and understanding that people can drown in their own depression and anxiety if they don't reach out for support.
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.