A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
The Reef offers positive messages about community, integrity, doing the right thing, and standing up for yourself or others.
Violence & Scariness
The Reef begins with a fish whose parents are captured by net and never seen again. It features sustained bullying throughout in the form of a tiger shark who terrorizes and intimidates the ocean community, insults others, beats them up, and demands the affections of a girl fish to a creepy extent. A major plot point involves the training of a fish to fight another fish. Fish are involved in numerous scuffles, which involve a great deal of fin-slapping and shoving. There are quite a few scary-looking fish with razor-sharp teeth. In one scene, a shark chases a smaller fish at length, with the perspective being through a mouth full of sharp teeth chomping after him.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A male shark demands the affections of a girl shark, who promises herself to him for him to stop bullying another fish. In a few scenes, fish kiss on the cheek.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Consistent use of insulting language, such as "dumb," "idiot," "stupid," and more.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Reef's premise involves a fish witnessing his parents being captured by a net and never being seen again, which could frighten very young kids. There are a number of scary-looking fish with sharp teeth in the film. It also involves sustained bullying from a creepy tiger shark who demands the affections of a female fish and abuses everyone. Though the message is ultimately a positive one about sticking up for yourself, there are numerous scuffles, insults, and a major plot point that involves fighting to solve a problem. 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 REEF is a bit rough around the edges for very young kids. A fish watches his parents being swept up by a net, never to return, and immediately finds a mean-spirited bully on what should be safe ground. The high number of tumbles, some flatulence jokes, and the Karate Kid-style plot -- which has Pi training to fight Troy for the big finish -- and the very creepy intimidation Troy lays on Cordelia all feel a bit too volatile for the film's cover appearance, designed to lure the same crowd that loves The Little Mermaid. There are some nice ideas about substitute communities and rallying to solve a problem, but it's unfortunate the answer is found in more violence.
Kids who like ocean adventures will be drawn to this, but parents may want to be ready to discuss bullies, orphans, and the mean streets underwater and possibly clarify what girls should do if boys ever demand their affections.
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.