Going into it, I wasn't expecting a movie about fishing to make me cry. Blue Miracle, now available on Netflix, is one of those based-on-a-true-story, feel-good movies that are somewhat predictable yet totally amazing at the same time. Hope, anxiety, and pure happiness washed over me throughout its one-hour, 36-minute story about Omar (Jimmy Gonzalez), who joins washed-up Captain Wade (Dennis Quaid) in a fishing competition in Cabo San Lucas to save his cash-strapped orphanage, Casa Hogar. Despite its TV-PG rating, there are some moments in the film that can be a little intense for kids, especially those sensitive to violence. Here are a few things to keep in mind before streaming it as a family.
- Scenes depicting drowning are intense and frequent.
Omar has PTSD about the water, after his father was killed in a boating accident when Omar was just 8 years old. Because of this, adult Omar frequently dreams about and visualizes the incident, showing him drowning as a little kid and an adult. Even though this is just a nightmare, it is intense and can be scary. These visualizations of water and drowning happen frequently throughout the movie.
- Violence and gunshots are portrayed.
Casa Hogar is set up in a dangerous neighborhood. At the beginning of the movie, the boys alert Omar that one of the children has run away again. Omar goes through the streets in the middle of the night to find him, avoiding people drinking, fighting, lighting trashcans on fire, and firing guns at each other as he runs away. Nothing graphic or bloody is shown, but it can be disturbing.
- Talk about child abuse is prevalent and heavy.
An orphanage setting can feel dark, but the talk and joking about child abuse can feel heavy. In one scene, the boys are comparing scars and joking about the way they are hurt, then commenting "all of us have scars." It's a sobering moment that even makes the stoic Captain Wade emotional.
- Faith is talked about frequently.
Omar tells one of the kids to draw a picture and pray to God when something bad happens, then he will nail his prayer to the wall. Later, when Moco catches Omar being tempted to do something bad, he confronts him about God, saying, "Oh, so now you're listening to God?" The same nail inspires Omar to do the right thing later on.
- Drugs and alcohol are mentioned and shown.
Omar's rich friend Hector hears he's having trouble, so he offers him a chance to make money by doing some "deliveries." Omar refuses, insisting he isn't a part of that life anymore. There is also some heavy drinking by Hector and Captain Wade, including Wade drinking so much that Omar brings him food to settle his stomach.
- Some crude slang occurs.
Words like "piss" and "stupid" are used frequently. At one point, Captain Wade complains about the time Moco peed in his cup and he drank it. At another, Captain Wade reminisces about how his wife was "easy like butter."
Overall, Blue Miracle is a positive, inspirational story. The movie's heavy parts only further underscore how motivational it can be to do the right thing and have a little faith in yourself, others, and a higher power. When Omar says, "If you want to make your life better, you have to do what you know is right, every single day," I really felt that. Blue Miracle is funny, heartfelt, and intense, with several moments that will spark conversations with your kids. I highly recommend it!