Parents' Guide to

The Mercy

By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

True-life sailing misadventure is mild in every way.

Movie NR 2018 112 minutes
The Mercy Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 13+

Poor self esteem and impulse control lead to catastrophic consequences

Certainly appropriate for teens if not wildly entertaining, as the film is as much inner psychological turmoil as it is a sailing movie but the amount of deception - central to the movie’s premise is at least somewhat concerning and seemingly necessitates some post film conversation about why and how our protagonist falls victim to his own demons and poor self esteem. Regardless of the film’s quality, the major challenge of this film is holding the kids attention for the duration.

This title has:

Educational value
age 14+

Thought-provoking story for older teens and up

This was quite an interesting story based on real-life events. While it is mild in many ways, the film is subtly powerful in conveying the disastrous consequences of what is essentially a foolish mistake. Although there is no real violence in it, the psychological unravelling of the main character's mind is quite disturbing as we watch him grapple with the choices he has made. It is a thought-provoking, slow moving story which won't appeal to the average teenager unless they are used to watching serious films. But it is a useful springboard for discussing wisdom, personal responsibility and the need to face up to - rather than run away from - mistakes that we make in life.

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (1):

This fact-based drama is too reserved for its subject matter. The Mercy ducks telling details of Crowhurst's life, starting out as a "beautiful dreamer" aspirational drama and then wandering and stalling -- just as the inexperienced seaman apparently did himself (the real story was reportedly considerably darker than what's presented here in such genteel fashion). The Mercy is the kind of film in which people say things such as, "Would not all that accrue to the greater value of the company?" but never swear, not even when key safety features fail and they face likely death (or have to go on the dole when abandoned by their sole breadwinner). The film feels too nice to delve into the character of a man who would make the disastrous bets that the real Crowhurst did. And it's certainly too mild to viscerally depict peril at sea or a possible descent into madness.

On the acting front, Firth is just fine, though he's constrained by the limitations of the filmmaking approach. Weisz is quietly truthful as a wife helplessly watching her husband undertake a fool's errand, betting their entire financial future (and his life) on it. But the film's failure to get its hands dirty leaves us wondering why we should care about Crowhurst's quest. He makes poor decisions and abandons and deceives those he cares about, and the filmmaking doesn't get us deep enough inside him to take the trip. Worse yet, after the misadventure's conclusion, the film voices a rant against the media and the citizens who were duped into rooting for the man -- as if what happened was somehow their fault, rather than his. The Mercy's subject matter is undeniably interesting -- in fact, a smaller, indie version of this story has also been made -- but this seafaring film is, frankly, too dry.

Movie Details

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