Parents' Guide to

Low Tide

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Stealing, smoking, drinking in pirate-y teen adventure.

Movie R 2019 84 minutes
Low Tide Poster Image

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Kevin McMullin makes an impressive feature debut in this drama, which cleverly positions teen burglars as modern-day pirates. The "crew" of buddies includes children of seafaring fisherman; one even breaks his leg early on, his cast substituting for a peg leg. Their "captain" -- who's named "Red," no less -- is a cunning, fearsome leader who owns a skiff. He comes from a life of privilege but prefers the sense of power that comes from plunder. The group operates by something similar to a pirate's code: Steal from the rich visitors to their sandy shores, not from the locals. And the story becomes a literal treasure hunt when two brothers discover old, gold doubloons buried under the baseboards of a house they're robbing and decide to keep their treasure a secret.

The boys justify stealing the booty as not really taking anything from anyone: The homeowner, a wealthy local legend, has passed away, and his land will likely be sold off to developers. But this does bend the morality of the character who's supposed to have a conscience: Alan's young brother Peter, who's initially so righteous that he won't even slip his brother free bait from the fish market where he works. That kind of gray area may translate into subtle messaging to teens that in some situations, bending the rules is OK. But a counter argument is gently inserted. A local cop (Shea Whigham) tries to guide Alan to untether himself from Red by explaining that no one starts out "bad" but may become "bad" after a series of poor decisions. It's a convincing argument, but the question is, will teens hear it over the crashing of Low Tide's waves to take the spoils at any cost?

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