WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

PLUGGED IN RATING

    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

Michael Kingley, a successful, retired businessman, has returned home to Australia to iron out some business issues and to reconnect with his family.

Particularly with his granddaughter, Maddie. You see, Maddie lost her mother (Michael’s daughter) when she was a young girl. And her years since then have been difficult. She doesn’t get along with her father, and she’s vehemently against his plans to use the family company to turn vital farmland into corporate dollars.

Maddie begs her grandfather—who's surrendered his control of the company to her father—to do something. And so he does—but it's not what she's expecting. Instead of launching into action to stop the plan, Michael tells his granddaughter a story. His story. A story about the weight of loss and the necessity of connection.

You see, as a young boy, Michael was raised on an isolated coastline by his father after his own mother died. Amid his isolation and grief, Michael stumbles upon three young pelicans in need of a caretaker after their mother is cruelly shot by capricious hunters.

And just like that, his life is changed forever.

Michael forms a deep bond with his fish-eating friends: Mr. Proud, Mr. Ponder and Mr. Percival. It's a bond that promises renewed hope, inescapable sorrow and a past that is ever-present.

Positive Elements

Young Michael is a tender, compassionate, kind boy. Growing up on a secluded beach that humans avoid and pelicans love, the boy makes the most of things. For him, that meant playing with the birds, exploring on his own. He shows himself to be responsible and tenderhearted, capable of big love.

As he wanders alone along the beach, Michael meets a caring older man named Fingerbone Bill. He's an Aboriginal Australian whose own struggles have forced him into isolation as well. Bill and Michael both treat each other kindly, striking up a friendship and deep trust (that Michael's dad eventually comes to share as well).

It’s evident that Michael’s father, while he has difficulty expressing emotion, truly loves his boy. Michael’s father also makes difficult decisions, some that Michael does not fully understand until he is an elderly man.

And those same decisions give Michael wisdom when his granddaughter, Maddie, struggles with her own set of issues with her father. As a young girl, Maddie lost her mother. Now, she’s left to live with a father who is deeply vested in his business. So much so that he and his daughter have a fractured relationship and do not see eye to eye on much of anything.

Michael understands his granddaughter's anger. But he also sagely encourages her to seek reconciliation with her father. Michael admits that his greatest regret in life is living in anger and choosing to leave his own relationship with his dad in shambles.

As Michael shares the story of his past with Maddie, he is reminded of his own dreams and passions, his own desire to do the right thing instead of giving in to expediency.

Spiritual Content

Fingerbone Bill tells Michael multiple tribal stories about the significance of land and how, according the Aboriginal lore, pelicans were once people. Because of that, the birds are treated with special reverence and awe. And the killing of a bird, Bill says, always portends a mighty oceanic storm in response.

Bill performs a few tribal dances to encourage the birds to fly. He also takes time to “talk” to the earth, grasping and releasing handfuls of sand into the wind.

Sexual Content

A man goes shirtless a few times.

Violent Content

Multiple gun shots are heard as hunters shoot pelicans from the sky, and their dead bodies lay strewn and bloody on the sand. One angry hunter threatens young Michael, telling him to watch his back. [Spoiler Warning] Later, that same hunter vindictively shoots a beloved pelican from the sky, a scene that will likely provoke tears from virtually anyone watching the film, but especially young and sensitive children.

In an effort to save baby pelicans, Michael grinds up dead fish to feed the birds. Blood and guts fly onto a window and all over a boy and his friend. Blood is seen at the bottom of multiple fish pails.

We learn that Michael’s mother and sister were killed in a car accident (nothing in shown) and that, later, Michael’s own daughter passes away (shown in the quick flash of a funeral).

Michael’s father gets knocked overboard in a perilous storm.

Crude or Profane Language

God’s name is misused four times; Jesus’ name gets abused twice. “H---” is uttered three times and “heck” once. The British vulgarity “p-ss off” is heard once. A man exclaims, “For heaven’s sake!”

Drug and Alcohol Content

A few men drink a glass or two of hard liquor. A granddaughter offers her grandfather some liquor in his coffee cup. Hunters throw their empty beer cans into the ocean.

Other Negative Elements

Michael’s father is, in many ways, a hardened man. It's clear that the loss of his wife and daughter have just about undone him. He's retreated to his simple home on an isolated beach instead of ever truly reckoning with his grief. Michael's father doesn’t trust people, telling Fingerbone Bill, “Sometimes I think it’s best not to have anyone to care about, that way you don’t get hurt.”

Eventually, Michael’s father forces the boy to leave and attend a boarding school. While Michael’s father believes this to be the best thing for his son (and it probably is), the decision is deeply traumatizing to young Michael. It leaves him angry for many years, we hear. That plot point, combined with the deaths of several family members (offscreen) and pelicans (as mentioned above), make this a story full of separation and loss. Thus, parents of children who are dealing with issues of loss themselves (perhaps especially adoptive and foster families) will want to preview Storm Boy before taking their children to it.

An angry protestor holds up a sign accusing a corporation of "land rape."

An angry teen girl yells at her grandfather in frustration (calling him “gutless”) and says that she “hates” her own father. A group of teenage girls sneer at a fellow classmate.

Conclusion

Based on the 1964 Australian children’s book by Colin Thiele, Storm Boy weaves a captivating tale about a boy and his birds. It's a bittersweet story that will pull out tears and smiles. It’s heartwarming and sweet and wonderful. You may find yourself wanting to be a child again as Michael plays in the sand and loses himself in his wild imagination.

But with joy comes loss and grief, and that idyllic experience on the beach is ultimately challenged by harsh realities that he (and his father) must face. As Michael says, “Any story that’s good has to go wrong before it gets better.”

Michael suffers several real, tangible losses throughout the film (as do others). For children or adults who have ever suffered great loss, this story may uncover some painful emotions.

That said, the story does not end on a sad note, but a redemptive one. In fact, we’re encouraged to understand how even difficult moments can be used for good, accomplishing purposes years and decades down the road that we never could have imagined.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Jai Courtney as Hideaway Tom; Geoffrey Rush as Mike 'Storm Boy' Kingley; Erik Thomson as Malcolm Downer; Finn Little as Storm Boy; Morgana Davies as Madeline; Trevor Jamieson as Fingerbone Bill

Director

Shawn Seet ( )

Distributor

Sony

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

April 5, 2019

On Video

July 2, 2019

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults
We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!