A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the main questionable content in The Blue Lagoon is nudity, and there's a lot of it. Both male and female bodies are seen, fully frontal once or twice, and quite a few times Richard's penis and Emmeline's breasts are clearly visible. An argument can be made, and at the time the movie was released it certainly was, that filming and showing children in the nude (at all stages of development) is inherently wrong, and those who feel that way should steer clear. If nudity is not an issue, the movie is otherwise fairly tame. There are a few extensive scenes of caressing and some kissing as the protagonists are observed following nature's course without any kind of guidance and almost entirely ignorant about human development. There are a few startling images of blood, a moderate spanking, and a human-sacrifice ritual that doesn't show the actual killing but does show a spurt of blood.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Sailing to San Francisco in Victorian times, Richard (Christopher Atkins) and Emmeline (Brooke Shields) are stranded on a deserted island when their ship catches fire and sinks. Only 7 or 8 at the time, they learn to survive, and even thrive, in their tropical-island paradise. They're completely on their own, with very little education, and nature follows its course when their attachment and attraction grow along with their bodies. Years later, an attempt to revisit their first landing site puts them in the greatest danger they've ever faced when they're once again stranded on the open sea.
Is it any good?
THE BLUE LAGOON is about eye candy, plain and simple. The main draw is the natural beauty of both the surroundings and the protagonists, which is considerable. The story is interesting and suspense is maintained about their ultimate fate, and there's a nugget of a good idea for a theme in there about how two kids might develop entirely on their own. The underwater cinematography is gorgeous. But it's all severely undercut by director Randal Kleiser succumbing to the temptation of spending too much time on the physical attributes of his stars -- and by Brooke Shields' limited acting ability. Although physically alluring, she just isn't believable as a sexually mature young woman. The whole production walks a thin line between a so-so adventure story and gratuitous titillation.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about nudity in movies. When, if ever, is it OK to show nude people? Does it matter if the person is a child, a teen, or an adult? Does the nudity in this movie make it more entertaining, or is it a realistic depiction of how the two kids might have lived after a shipwreck?
How would you react to how you change during puberty if you didn't know anything about it? Would it seem scary or not really a big deal? Do Richard and Emmeline act realistically?
If you were thriving and happy on a deserted island, would you still want to get back home to civilization? Why, or why not?
- In theaters: June 20, 1980
- On DVD or streaming: October 5, 1999
- Cast: Brooke Shields, Christopher Atkins, Leo McKern
- Director: Randal Kleiser
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Adventures, History, Ocean Creatures, Wild Animals
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Strong sexual content, graphic nudity of children/teens, some bloody images
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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