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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Overwhelmingly positive messages about importance and power of teamwork, courage, perseverance. Your unique interests and life experiences, even when negative, may be leading you to something great. You are more powerful than you know.
Positive Role Models
Everyone interviewed can be considered a role model, especially the cave divers who volunteered and risked their lives, reputations, and future emotional well-being to try to do something that most agreed was impossible. Rescuers show humility, courage, self-control, discussing these qualities at length. The children are shown to be massively resilient, optimistic, full of gratitude.
Asian American filmmakers chronicle how the world came together to aid Thailand in their efforts to rescue the trapped boys. Thai Navy Seals are shown to be diligent, inventive in efforts to not compromise safety and use engineering to help the cause. Thai people, their culture, their spiritual beliefs are respectfully and positively depicted. While rescue was a team effort between Thai leaders and other countries, including United States and China, the people who ultimately conduct the daring rescue are all White men from countries like the U.K. and Australia. They hail from different socioeconomic groups and frankly discuss their fear and emotional stresses -- including the fact that the qualities that made them feel inadequate as boys (e.g., a lack of aptitude for sports) are the same ones that made it possible to pull off this heroic effort.
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Violence & Scariness
Intense peril involving children. Extensive visual depictions and descriptions of danger facing both the children and the rescue team. Children are in a frightening situation where they're separated from their parents. A legend is briefly recounted with simple, nongraphic animation involving a murder and a suicide. An accidental death.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple discuss falling in love.
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Three instances of language: "bulls--t," "damn," and "you're s--tting me."
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Products & Purchases
Reference to drinking Jack Daniels, with images.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Success is celebrated with rescuers drinking a round of whiskey. One person expresses his worry that trauma could lead him to alcoholism.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Rescue is an inspiring, emotionally intense documentary about the 2018 rescue of a boys' soccer team in Thailand. While the film offers powerful messages about teamwork, perseverance, courage, and ingenuity, it's a gut-wrenching journey that may be too much for some kids and adults. The footage is absolutely jaw-dropping, with cameras capturing what seems like every moment of the team's journey. As a result, their anxiety and worry become the viewers', and you may need to constantly remind yourself of the positive outcome. But there's much to be gained from observing this true story as it unwinds, including that "impossible" can mean "a really hard problem to be solved." Members of the rescue team talk about how they came to enjoy cave diving as an escape from a world where they felt like they didn't fit in; they note that the characteristics that made them targets for bullies as children are the same ones that ultimately made them heroes. Pretty much everyone in the documentary is a role model, including the boys and the coach who were stranded: Their gratitude, self-control, and optimism in the worst of circumstances is extraordinary. Expect a few instances of language ("s--t") and a celebratory round of whiskey. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (who also made Free Solo) expertly lay out that this modern-day miracle involved more than prayers; it involved layers. Saving the Wild Boars was accomplished through a complex combination of science, skill, medicine, ingenuity, determination, and courage in people who had no idea that this heroic moment was the event they were preparing for their whole lives. Watching The Rescue is much more than a way to pass the time: It's an unforgettable experience that's likely to offer viewers new perspectives and self-appreciation. It tells us that we are more powerful than we know, that the "silly" hobby that friends or family members might hound you to give up could have an important purpose, and that our "quirky" qualities have value. In capturing this most improbable rescue of 12 children and their coach, the film is both life-affirming and self-affirming.
The documentary feels like a miracle in itself. The filmmakers were able to acquire, compile, and assemble astounding footage that doesn't just re-create and recount the events leading up to and including the rescue, but also allows viewers to be part of the journey every step of the way, to see what the rescuers discovered as they discovered it. Without emotional manipulation, Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi allow the story to tell itself, the events unfolding before viewers' eyes. We are swimming in the darkness, we are pushing ourselves through the confined and craggy spaces, we are facing the impossible. It's terrifying. And all-encompassing. Knowing that the lives of a dozen children -- who even in their worst moment are sweet, upbeat, and trusting -- are on the line is almost too much to bear, even knowing that the mission will ultimately be successful. But witnessing the cross-cultural cooperation that went into pulling that mission off is uplifting, and the extraction is shown to be a team effort on a global scale. Everything about these events makes for a great story: The stakes couldn't be higher, the conditions couldn't be worse, and the heroes couldn't be more unexpected. Through Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi's marvelous storytelling ability, The Rescue performs one final miracle: revealing to viewers that we all have the potential to be heroes, that self-doubt is part of the process, and that, together, we can overcome anything.
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.