A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Adults can be way too materialistic, but the innocence of a young boy can sometimes help them realize they are acting out of greed, and that there are more important things in life than money.
Positive Role Models
Ten-year-old Eric is overjoyed to find the mystical golden seal, a beautiful creature that he's determined to protect. The adults are a different story. They fight each other, and Eric, and give in to their selfish natures, driven by greed and the desire to earn a huge reward for the seal's golden pelt.
Violence & Scariness
The film features several intense scenes in which adults hunt for a mythical creature and a 10-year-old boy tries to interfere, sometimes placing his body in front of a rifle barrel and pleading with the grown-ups not to shoot. It also includes a few violent fistfights and one harrowing rainstorm that threatens to wash some characters out to sea.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few chaste kisses between a husband and wife who clearly love each other.
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Some swearing, including "son of a bitch," "damn," "Jesus" and one scene that features a tween repeatedly saying "s--t" to the annoyance of his mom (and perhaps amusing his father).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A few characters smoke cigarettes and one scene features some people drinking beer in a general store, slightly drunk and more than slightly annoying.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Golden Seal is a surprisingly adult family story with some intense fight scenes and some dramatic episodes when the boy tearfully steps in front of hunters' rifles. The adults in the movie are greedy while the main child character stands up for what's right and teaches the adults to be more noble people. One scene includes a child repeating "s--t" several times. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Though The Golden Seal has a happy ending, at its heart it's a sad tale. Young Eric lives alone with his parents on a remote Alaskan island, and while they're clearly a loving family, he yearns for companionship. Befriending the seal is the best thing he's ever done, the most fun and the most rewarding. So it's doubly tragic that not only must he drive the seal away to protect her, but Eric's relationship with his father is also changed irrevocably after he sees him give in to greed.
This is a film about a boy, but it's not just a film for kids. In fact, younger children may be confused about why the adults who seem so noble at the start of the film turn out to be not so nice at the end. It's an important lesson for kids to learn, but once they do, they start on the path that ultimately takes them out of childhood. The stunning Alaskan scenery makes this beautiful to watch, and though clunky dialog and stiff acting somewhat mars the film, it doesn't blunt its message.
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.