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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids can see a diverse team of scientists and their colleagues at work and may be inspired to pursue a career in the field of STEM.
STEM workforces should be a place of diversity, inclusion, belonging. Mentors serve an important, powerful purpose. Documentary shows a supportive network of family and friends. Candid and caring discussions about work-life balance. Female scientists work to understand methods of communication differences between sea animals and people.
Positive Role Models
Marine ecologist Dr. Michelle Fournet is assisted by Dr. Leanna Matthews and student research assistant Maggie Knight with fieldwork in Alaska. The group acknowledge that they're a good team and take care of each other. Their activities include confirming a checklist of items needed for the journey, taking notes of observations made during the mission, engaging in a conversation about functional fashions while on assignment, and sharing lots of laughter. Dr. Ellen Garland, a senior research fellow, says that her mother wanted to be an oceanographer, but women weren't allowed to be on boats at that time. She became a geographer instead but still embraced a love for the sea now shared by her daughter. Dr. Garland also mentors graduate students, and during time spent with husband Matt Lilley, the couple create a cushion for their cats' scratching post.
Violence & Scariness
Mention about possible capsizing of a boat by whales and that the crew could die from the cold water. A reference to dead dinosaurs.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Dr. Garland and husband Matt Lilley embrace, and she kisses his head.
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Dr. Garland mentions some fieldwork days can be the "crappiest."
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Products & Purchases
Images that include clothing with designs, logos, and messages. Boat gear displaying brand names. Desktop and laptop computers, GPS equipment, headphones, smartphones, food items with brand labels.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Dr. Fournet sips from a can of Alaskan Kölsch, which is an ale containing a mixture of malts and glacier-fed water.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Fathom is a documentary about two scientists who set out on separate journeys to study the sounds and songs shared by humpback whales. There are mentions about the possible capsizing of a boat by whales and the crew dying from the cold water. The word "crappiest" is used, and there's a reference to dead dinosaurs. Images include a can of ale and a couple engaged in an embrace/kiss. The documentary includes positive female representation and lots of great messages about teamwork, courage, curiosity, and perseverance. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
In this educational and entertaining documentary, female scientists study the mysterious sounds made by humpback whales. For Fathom's Dr. Garland, the mission is not only about a concern for the greater good of the earth, but also a personal passion. "It gets me out of bed every morning," she admits. "I'm a nerdy scientist trying to understand our planet, trying to understand all the animals on our planet before they disappear." And, notes Dr. Fournet about her assignments, "We're creating a record so that we can at least demonstrate to the world and to the generations ahead of us that something beautiful was here." These shared stories and images from accomplished scientists and their colleagues help Fathom to serve fittingly as a film that can inspire kids to consider careers in STEM.
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.