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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Some discussion about ocean ecosystems, the scientific method, and environmentalism.
Teamwork. Friendships can change and evolve. Curiosity is a good thing. It's OK to be wrong; failing can help you find a solution. Give people a chance. You are enough.
Positive Role Models
Quinn is smart and willing to help a new friend on an adventure. She learns how to be open to change and try new things. Teddy is kind and persistent. Quinn and Daniella have some conflict but are able to make amends.
Cast consists of a mix of male and female characters of different ethnic backgrounds. Quinn is smart, into science and exploring. Other female characters are also into science but are more often seen talking about texting a crush. Daniella has two dads.
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Violence & Scariness
Brief moments of suspense at night; characters search for the source of hidden sounds. Ghost stories are told. Two kids get trapped on a boat and are briefly held hostage. A man is shoved from a boat into the ocean. Characters use a Ouija board to try to converse with spirits.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Talk of crushes, flirtatious texting. Teens go on a double date.
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Language includes "bloody" and "stupid."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Curious Case of Dolphin Bay is a family film about a group of teens working together during a summer internship who try to solve a mystery. It follows the story of 15-year-old Quinn, who's excited to reunite with her best friend who moved to Australia. There's some teen drama and conflict. The movie has brief moments of suspense in the dark as characters search for the source of hidden sounds. Ghost stories are told, and characters use a Ouija board to try to converse with spirits. Language includes insults such as "stupid" and slang language such as "bloody." Two kids get trapped on a boat and are briefly held hostage. There's talk of crushes and flirtatious texting; teens go on a double date. On a positive note, the story features a diverse cast with smart girls who like science, and tackles social and emotional topics like how friendships evolve and change. Despite the title, dolphins don't play a prominent role as characters in the story, but the movie does touch on environmentalism as well as animal conservation. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The Curious Case of Dolphin Bay is a pleasant story with a mystery that's actually fun to solve. Though it's not a complete mind bender, younger viewers may enjoy trying to determine what's happening in the bay, why the dolphins are leaving, and what's going on with the ghost. It's nice to see repeated references to environmentalism and working through hypotheses and experiments while the teens work at their internship. But the relationships outside of their work often feel obnoxious and unnecessary.
The movie had potential to be a strong story about girls teaming up to solve a case, but instead spends too much time on teen girl drama. Two of the girls seem to care more about popularity and boys than the internship or the mystery at hand. Though that might be bothersome for some viewers eager to see the combined efforts of girl power, it does offer a realistic look at how friendships shift and evolve through the years. Though the scenes with tension between friends are often uncomfortable, there's redemption (though brief) near the end.
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.