Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Water-Horse

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some action/peril, mild language and brief smoking.
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:None
Alcohol/Drugs:Social drinking
Violence/Scariness:Wartime violence, references to offscreen wounds and sad death, guns, some peril
Diversity Issues:Class issues
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2007

waterhorse-poster-0.jpg
In the grand tradition of “he followed me home — can I keep him?” movies, we have seen movies about children who are brought to adventure and understanding through dogs, horses, cats, a whale, a dolphin, dragons, geese, and an extra-terrestrial. But this imaginative family fantasy-adventure is the first movie in my memory about a boy and his very own Loch Ness monster.
Angus (Alex Etel) is a young boy in World War II Scotland, the son of the housekeeper of a large estate. He finds what he thinks is a rock but it turns out to be an egg. He calls the creature who hatches “Crusoe.”


At first, Crusoe is a cute little thing, a sort of friendly, cooing, shell-less snail. But he grows very quickly soon Angus has to let some other people in on the secret.
The role of animals (or extra-terrestrials) in movies like this is to give the child at the center of the story a growth experience. As in most movies of this kind, Crusoe is there to help the main character deal with loss by learning to care for something that needs protecting and by drawing on resources of courage and maturity he did not know he had. It turns out that Angus has not been able to accept a tragic loss. Caring for Crusoe will help him find a way to hold on to his connection to the person he has lost by learning to love — and then learning to let go — of his pet monster.
Alex’s mother (Emily Watson) will also learn something from Crusoe. Her experience of loss has left her unwilling to believe in anything magical. And a wounded veteran (Ben Chaplin as Lewis Mowbry) finds something hopeful wakened in him at the sight of the growing monster in a bathtub as well. And when Angus goes for a ride on Crusoe’s back, it is a scene of the purest childhood joy and freedom.
Crusoe rescues something in Angus and his family, and then they must rescue him in an exciting scene beautifully staged by director Jay Russell (“Ladder 49″) and performed by his outstanding cast. This is a fine family film, filled with imagination and heart.
Parents should know that this film includes some wartime violence (guns and explosions) and reference to wartime injuries and loss, including the (offscreen) death of a parent. Characters are in peril. There is some social drinking and there is brief crude humor.
Families who see this movie should talk about how Crusoe helped both Angus and Lewis understand and cope with their losses. How does taking care of something (or someone) who needs you change you? What do you think will happen after the last scene in the movie?
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Free Willy and Andre. They will also enjoy Alex Etel’s wonderful performance in the delightful Millions.



  • Elle

    Nell’s assessment of the age group is appropriate for this film. After seeing the trailer I took my 5 year old and almost 3 year old to see this film. We had to leave early — mostly because of the “wartime violence (guns and explosions)” which includes cannons being aimed and fired at Crusoe with Alex on his back. As an adult the film is really good, but I’d make sure your child is older before taking him or her. Also, the story is interesting, but rather dark and deals with fears of drowning, WWII (talk of the Nazis), and, as mentioned by Nell, the death of a parent.

  • cbaray

    I saw this with my 6 year old and 8 year old daughters. They loved the movie. My 6 year old is pretty emotional, so there were a couple of times she got teary (when she found out the father died and when she thought Crusoe would die), but at the end, she was very excited! Simply a great movie!!!

Previous Posts

When The Movie Plays With the Studio Logo
I got a big kick out of the post by Matt Singer from Screen Crush about movies that begin before the beginning by amending the studio's opening logo.   Most recently, of course "The LEGO Movie" did the logo in Legos.  But before that, movies like "Scott Pilgrim," "Cat Ballou," "Alien 3," and "Wate

posted 8:00:10am Jan. 27, 2015 | read full post »

From Hermione to Belle: Emma Watson to Star in Live-Action "Beauty and the Beast"
Disney is working on a new live-action "Beauty and the Beast," a follow to the upcoming "Cinderella," and they have announced that "Harry Potter's" Emma Watson will star as Belle. It will be directed by Bill Condon ("Dreamgirls," "Kinsey"). Watson made the announcement on her Facebook page: “I

posted 12:18:20pm Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

SAG Awards 2015
The Screen Actors Guild awards for television and movies in 2014 are in and it looks like Patricia Arquette, Julianne Moore, and J.K. Simmons are in line to bring home Oscars on February 22. The tough one to call right now is Best Actor, down to the wire between Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton.

posted 9:00:38am Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Paddington Music Video: Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani Sing "Shine"
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/E924t_5SGkE?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:22am Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Contest: Win Swag From One of the Year's Worst Movies!
Mortdecai is a simply terrible movie. Don't go see it. But its very terribleness just might be a reason to look super-cool in a Mortdecai t-shirt and socks! I have them and you can win them! [capt

posted 11:58:25am Jan. 25, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.