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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The theme/message of the movie is to persevere no matter what -- never quit.
Positive Role Models
Nancy keeps calm after the shark bites her and she's stranded. She decides that she isn't going to quit and will fight to the end. She stitches up her own wound, then observes the shark and tries to learn its patterns so she can outsmart it. That said, she does also hitchhike to a secluded beach by herself and keep surfing after locals have called it a day. Nancy's friend bails on her.
Violence & Scariness
(Possible spoiler alert ahead!) Strong, frequent peril and plenty of blood. Nancy is bitten by the shark and bleeds. The shark jumps out of the water and eats someone. A man is pulled down into the water by the shark while Nancy tries to save him. A man crawls up on to the beach, but the lower half of his body is left behind. Viewers hear (but don't see) someone being eaten by a shark. The shark circles Nancy and jumps at her. Nancy stitches up her leg using her jewelry. A dead whale is shown half eaten and floating in the water. Nancy swims through a pocket of jellyfish and gets stung. Nancy is pummeled by the shark and by waves, which throw her into the coral. In a sad moment, Nancy says goodbye to her dad and sister in a video when she thinks she might not survive. She's pulled out of the water not breathing.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Close-up shots of Nancy's chest and butt. Nancy's friend meets a guy and texts Nancy to tell her not to wait up.
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Nancy says "Oh my God," "f--k," and "s--t" while taking on the shark.
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Products & Purchases
Close-up shots of a Sony phone and its video call feature, Banana Boat sunscreen and a RipCurl wetsuit top. A Go Pro camera is used.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A man is seen passed out on a beach with an empty bottle. Nancy's friend can't go surfing with her because she's too hung over.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Shallows is a tense, bloody, jump-out-of-your-seat thriller starring Blake Lively as a young med school dropout who goes surfing at a secluded beach. After being chomped on by a shark, she must figure out how to survive and get to safety. Many scenes could scare the pants off of kids (and adults), including a shark jumping out of the water with its jaws open (then chomping down on a surfer) and a man crawling onto the beach with half his body chewed off. It's very exciting, but it's not for the faint of heart. That said, Nancy is a strong, determined woman who never loses her cool, though she does swear a few times (including "f--k" and "s--t"). Bottom line? The Shallows is both terrifying and entertaining, but it's not for young kids or anyone afraid of the water or blood. If you couldn't handle Jaws, skip this one, too. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Like the shark at the center of its story, this movie pulls you in the minute Nancy grabs her surfboard and gets in the water. The Great White gets her right away, but that's only the beginning of her fight to stay alive. Lively is in almost every scene of the movie, and she's compelling enough to make it work. She's alone, injured and trapped, but still manages to stitch up her leg, make a video, and fight off a giant shark. She's a tough, strong woman who doesn't need saving.
There are quite a few terrifying shots of people being grabbed by sharks, but the scariest is what you don't see: i.e. a surfer being pulled in from under the water and not coming back up (and then there's Lively's face while it's all happening). It's only 87 minutes long, but you'll be holding your breath for much of that time. Unlike Jaws, the shark looks very real here (though the same can't be said for the scenes of Lively surfing...) and even more menacing. The end is a little silly, and The Shallows won't end up a a classic like Jaws did, but it will give a new generation of beachgoers an ominous feeling when they look down in the water.
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.