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The Whale

2011 G 1h 29m DVD

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The Whale

2011 G 1h 29m DVD
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Narrated by Ryan Reynolds, this documentary introduces Luna, a killer whale who befriends a community living off Vancouver Island. Conflicted emotions rise to the surface as officials try to determine what's best for the extraordinary animal.
Full Screen 1.33:1
English, French, Spanish (Neutral)
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
G - All ages admitted. Nothing that would offend parents for viewing by children.
age 8+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 8+
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age 8+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that this wildlife documentary follows a lost young orca that uses humans for his innate need to socialize. There's no age-inappropriate content in the movie, but (spoiler alert!) it does have a sad ending that could deeply affect younger viewers who aren't prepared. The relationship between the First Nations tribe and the local authorities -- and how the two groups have contrasting views of what's best for Luna -- makes for interesting conversations after viewing the documentary.

Sexual Content

Not applicable.


A man wants to press charges against Luna for ruining his motor. Another man contemplates what it would take for Luna to be put down. There's much discussion of how Luna could get hurt if he stays so close to humans. In one scene it looks like Luna's on a collision course with a paddler, but no one is hurt. Spoiler alert: At the end, news of Luna's demise is sudden and very upsetting, even though there's no footage of the accident that kills him. All of the adults viewers have met who love Luna are distraught, and a few look visibly upset.


Not applicable

Social Behavior

Themes/messages include the nature of human-animal relationships, wild animals' inability to become "domesticated," the dangers that humans pose to sea animals, and the way that attempts to help can sometimes hinder a cause if we're not willing to reevaluate how and why rules are put in place. The close ties between First Nation tribes and nature are explored, as is their belief in spirits.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Not applicable

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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