A lot or a little?
Parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Namu: My Best Friend is a family film that's meant to debunk myths about killer whales. The film contains several scenes of mild peril. In an opening scene, a whale is shown eating other sea life and blood is shown. A whale is shown dying, but without any blood or gore. There's talk of a child whose father is rumored to have drowned in a sea accident. Also, casual, everyday smoking is shown without consequence, and a wide range of characters are portrayed as gun-toting in this outdoorsy Washington state setting.
What's the story?
When marine biologist Hank Donner (Robert Lansing) decides to isolate a killer whale in a cove so he can study it, local townspeople are concerned about the dangers. With the help of friendly widow Kate (Lee Meriwether) and her daughter, can Donner convince them there's more to meets the eye, or will the killer whale retain his reputation as a cold-blooded predator?
Is it any good?
Kids who are interested in marine life will likely enjoy this exploration of communicating with the killer whale, and parents can get behind the positive pro-science, pro-nature message.
With its sense of formality and idealism, casual smoking and almost Twilight Zone-era feel of the narration, this late-'60s film on the intelligence and wonder of the killer whale feels of its time. It also portrays the issue of animal rights vs. people's as a fairly simplistic one. But that said, it's beautifully shot, wholesome entertainment that demonstrates some important messages about tolerance and basing one's decisions on concrete facts rather than irrational, particularly ignorant, fears.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how important it is to show tolerance for things we might fear or simply not understand. How can you learn more about something you don't understand?
Does the movie seem dated to you, or do you think its messages are still relevant?
Go online or to the library and learn more about killer whales and their habits.
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