By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)
WHAT’S THE SHALLOWS ABOUT?
A surfer (Blake Lively) is terrorized by a relentless Great White Shark 200 yards from shore.
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: B)
Despite a few dull stretches and some hokey dialogue, The Shallows emerges as one of the few truly good “killer shark” movies since the original Jaws. It’s not a masterpiece like that film, but it does feature genuine thrills, a (mostly) realistic-looking shark, stunning cinematography, and a surprisingly strong performance by Blake Lively. While not remotely grounded in realistic shark behavior, as a guilty pleasure it’s fun and even inspires with its woman-versus-nature story. The ending is eye-rollingly over-the-top, but then so was the finale of Jaws and audiences cheered then. Go and have a good time, but be warned that this could psychologically ruin your next beach trip.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS?
The Shallows is rated PG-13. It has no sexual content, nudity, or innuendo. There is one f-word and about five other profanities. The lead actress is featured in a rather skimpy bikini. A character suffers a leg wound which is shown in graphic close-up as it’s stitched up. A decomposing whale carcass is shown. Several characters die in shark attacks, with some blood and PG-13-level gore.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
When faced with hardship, use your wits and the resources at your disposal. Don’t give up and don’t stop fighting. Use your talents to help other people.
After the escapist mayhem of The Shallows, try the inspirational true story of shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton in Soul Surfer!
I myself had a breathtaking shark encounter in Hawaii. Would you climb into the cage?