Untamed Romania

Movie review by
Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media
Untamed Romania Movie Poster Image
Beautiful, kid-friendly nature doc has some animal peril.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 92 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for positive messages.

Educational Value

Viewers will learn about the characteristics and survival instincts of a variety of species living in one of the largest wildernesses in Europe -- from caterpillars and snakes to bears and wild boar.

Positive Messages

The movie highlights the importance of Romania's natural landscape and the many rare species that live there. It promotes conservation and sustainable development, as well as warning of the effects of poaching and consumption on the delicate ecosystem. The animals, birds, fish, and insects are shown to be resilient and ingenious in their ability to adapt to their surroundings. Though they sometimes attack and kill prey, it is always in the interest of survival and protecting their young.

Positive Role Models

As it's a nature documentary, there are no positive role models, per se.

Violence & Scariness

A number of attacks and battles for dominance are shown, though none result in blood or injury. There are moments of peril involving animals hunting, but most result in escape. When animals are caught, no great suffering is shown -- though there is one instance of a deer carcass being torn at by predators, resulting in blood on their faces. The skeletons of ancient bears are shown in a cave. A gun is briefly seen in relation to poachers, but it's not fired.

Sexy Stuff

Mating is mentioned but never shown.

Language
Consumerism

The potential effect of over consumption and development on the wilderness is mentioned briefly at the end of the film.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Untamed Romania is a stunning and educational documentary about Romania's huge expanse of wilderness and the animals and plants that live within it, narrated by Mark Strong. It explores the region over four seasons, and involves some scenes of animals hunting each other and, on one occasion, a carcass being torn at by predators. There is also reference to poaching and a gun is seen, but not fired. The violence and peril is mostly played down, however, and the narration has a storybook quality often accompanied by comedy music that makes the film more suitable and enjoyable for younger viewers than other nature documentaries.

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What's the story?

In UNTAMED ROMANIA, Mark Strong narrates the lifecycle of the Romanian wilderness over four seasons, introducing viewers to the incredible ways in which different species have adapted to survive. From a determined female wild boar and a prehistoric species of beluga sturgeon to abseiling caterpillars and the 24-hour flight of the mayfly, the documentary unveils fascinating details of an ecosystem little known to the rest of the world.

Is it any good?

One of the things that really sets a nature documentary apart is the cinematography, and here John Waters (nominated for a Primetime Emmy for his work on Meerkat Manor) really excels. Untamed Romania's breathtaking birds-eye views, haunting underwater realms, and magical scenes of mayfly taking flight are vivid and enticing. Playful interludes, such as an abseiling caterpillar and mischievous bear cubs, are accompanied by whimsical music from award-winning composer Nainita Desai, lending a storybook charm to the film.

It took 22 camera operators filming over 400 hours of footage to capture the intimate moments of the animals' lives and the intricate changes of the spectacular landscape across four dramatically different seasons. From beautiful native lilies snapping shut at nighttime to time-lapse techniques showing rotting tree trunks regenerating the ecosystem, there is rarely a dull visual moment. The documentary is an enticing invitation to explore one of Europe's largest and most under-explored wildernesses that will fascinate parents and kids alike.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what they learned from Untamed Romania. How did the different species adapt to survive in the Romanian wilderness? Were you surprised by anything you learned from the documentary?

  • Did you find any scenes in the film upsetting? If so, which ones?

  • How did this movie compare to other animal documentaries you may have seen? What did you like, and what didn't you like?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animal documentaries

Themes & Topics

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