Parents' Guide to

In the Heart of the Sea

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Riveting historical story has great action but uneven drama.

Movie PG-13 2015 121 minutes
In the Heart of the Sea Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 16+


Beware there is cannibalism in this film although not visual shown. Other than that it is a good movie overall .

This title has:

Too much violence
age 5+

A classic for my kids!

We watch this every night it seems. The cinematography is enchanting for my daughters.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (10):

Although Ron Howard's filmmaking is difficult to find fault with, it's in the storytelling that this adaptation fails to connect emotionally with audiences. In the Heart of the Sea clearly had a big budget; it's polished and includes some nail-bitingly intense sequences at sea. But aside from Pollard and Chase's stereotypical tension as the old-money blue blood vs. the ambitious striver overstepping his bounds, the characters mostly fall a bit flat. Hemsworth is, as as expected, swashbuckling as Chase, and Walker sure looks and sounds like a Nantucket man to the manor born, but as foils who slowly but surely become friendly (if not outright friends) in their quest for survival, their story doesn't pack quite the emotional punch you'd expect.

Audiences less interested in the drama than they are the action certainly won't be disappointed. The whaling ship's voyage ends in disaster, but, cinematically, the moments with the mammoth sperm whale are fantastically terrifying. The impressive special effects might even make some motion-sick moviegoers close their eyes for a spell. But dramatically, there's no lingering heft to any of the storylines or themes, whether its the eventually abandoned enmity between Chase and Pollard, the sailors' sense of betrayal that their prize should become their predator, or even Nickerson's lifelong guilt at what he -- and the other survivors -- had to do to live another day. Perhaps this is a problem with adaptation, but while there's merit to the movie, it's less than what we've come to expect from Howard.

Movie Details

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