[Screen It]


(2008) (Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster) (PG)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Minor Mild Mild *Moderate Mild
Mild None Heavy None Minor
Smoking Tense Family
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Adventure: When her marine biologist dad goes missing from the tropical island where they live alone, an 11-year-old girl seeks out help -- via email -- from the author of her favorite adventure novelist, unaware that "he" is really an agoraphobic, obsessive-compulsive woman whose only friend is the imagined protagonist of her books.
11-year-old Nim Rusoe (ABIGAIL BRESLIN) is leading what she thinks is a perfect life. While she doesn't remember her mom who was supposedly accidentally swallowed by a whale long ago, she and her marine biologist dad, Jack (GERARD BUTLER), sailed around the world until they found an uncharted island that they then called home.

With solar panels to provide their electricity and periodic cargo ship deliveries for their other needs, they lead an idyllic if isolated life in the South Asiatic Sea. While Nim has various animal friends -- Selkie the sea lion, Fred the lizard and Galileo the pelican -- what she enjoys most are the installments of the Alex Rover adventure novels written by none other than Alex Rover.

Accordingly, and while her dad is away on a two-day solo expedition to study plankton, Nim is shocked when Alex emails them with a question about volcanoes (since Jack wrote a famous story about studying them). Little does the fan know, however, that Alex is really Alexandra Rover (JODIE FOSTER), an agoraphobic and compulsive-obsessive writer whose only friend is the imagined personification of her protagonist, Alex Rover (GERARD BUTLER).

When it becomes apparent that Nim is alone on the island (due to Jack's small boat being crippled by a bad storm), it's Alex who convinces Alexandra that she must get up the courage to leave her San Francisco home and travel halfway around the world to help the girl. Initially reluctant, and scared by most everything she encounters, Alexandra ends up doing just that, all as Nim tries to defend her island from tourists who've suddenly arrived there for vacation, all while hoping her dad is okay.

Tween-aged and younger girls are the most likely audience, but fans of anyone in the cast might also be interested in seeing it.
For mild adventure action and brief language.
  • ABIGAIL BRESLIN plays an 11-year-old girl who thinks, despite not ever knowing her mom who died years ago, that she leads an idyllic life living on a tropical island with just her dad and animal friends. That changes, however, when he doesn't return from a two-day expedition at sea and she can't contact him. From that point on, she hopes that he'll return, all while doing her best to drive vacationers from their island.
  • GERARD BUTLER plays her dad, a marine biologist who's obsessed with plankton and is raising her alone on the island. When his boat is crippled at sea during a storm, he must contend with trying to keep it afloat, all while hoping to get back to Nim.
  • JODIE FOSTER plays an agoraphobic and obsessive-compulsive writer (of a popular adventure novel series) whose only friend is the imagined personification of her protagonist. Through him, she gets up the courage to set out from the safety of her home and travel half-way around the world to try to find and help Nim.
  • GERARD BUTLER also plays the imagined personification of her literary adventure protagonist, a rugged hero who's up for most anything and not only wants her to finish his latest story, but also to get out of the house and go help the girl.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    Here's a quick look at the content found in this PG-rated adventure film. Profanity consists of a minor expletive, while a handful of colorful phrases are also present. Some people are seen in bathing suits and some cleavage is present.

    Violence includes a briefly imagined adventure-based fight (punches, etc.), a girl falling and cutting her leg (with bloody results), some people being washed off boats by large waves, and various bits of slapstick style material.

    Some scenes may be unsettling or suspenseful for younger viewers, while a few bad attitudes are present. Tense family material includes a girl worrying about her missing dad, as well as brief mention of her long-dead mother.

    Various bits of crude humor are present, while some people hold drinks, and some kids may be enticed to imitate stunts or other behavior that occurs in the film.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from flicker seen in old home movies, as well as later (various times) from lightning at night.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some bouncy camerawork from time to time in the film.

  • The captain of a ship states that they'll sell $10 piņa coladas to the tourists they'll bring to the island.
  • Various tourists hold drinks.
  • Nim shows that she's adding live mealworms to her meal for protein (we see them squirming about, but don't see them cook or be consumed). Later, she offers some of that to Alexandra (we see the squirming worms again, as well as Alexandra swallowing a cooked one mixed in with various beans, etc.). Alexandra comments on it being chewy, but otherwise okay (beyond the idea).
  • We see a 5-inch long gash on Nim's leg (from falling a short distance down a cliff), and she comments to Alexandra via email that the wound has pus coming out of it (we don't see that).
  • We hear the sound of Alexandra vomiting out of a cab, and then see her wipe her mouth (but don't see any actual vomit).
  • Nim tells the sea lion to "gas 'em out," referring to the arriving tourists. We then see it swimming below their shore boat, with lots of bubbles floating up, and everyone then reacting to the bad smell (with one saying they're going to vomit, but they don't).
  • Alexandra vomits off the far side of a small boat (we hear, but don't see the actual act).
  • We see a roasted full pig on a spit.
  • We see that some blood has soaked through the bandage covering Nim's previous cut on her leg, and she partially pulls that away and we see dried blood on the skin and cut.
  • During a brief panic, a male tourist is knocked from an overturned porta-potty, but no bodily function related material is seen.
  • About flying through a bad storm in a helicopter, Alex says he's going to be sick (but isn't).
  • A ship crewmember litters on the island.
  • Not wanting anyone to find her and her dad's island, Nim does everything in her power to drive away vacationing tourists who've landed there.
  • Scenes listed here may be unsettling or suspenseful to younger viewers but probably few others.
  • We see a spider scampering across the floor and then what appears to be even more of them headed toward Alexandra as she's on the computer, but we then see that it's just one, and nothing happens (beyond her freaking out).
  • We see a realized version of Alexandra's latest Alex story where he's bound and hanging below a carried pole that's then thrown into a volcano (but the scene ends before he hits, since Alexandra can't decide how to finish it).
  • Jack suddenly encounters a strong storm at sea at night on his small boat. A wave crashes over it, sweeping him and his satellite dish (for phone conversations with Nim back home) off it. When we next see him, he's lying down below deck in some water, not moving. Some kids may worry that he's dead, but he comes to, only to discover that his small boat is leaking and sinking, and that its mast has been broken off. Moments later, a large shark rams his boat, causing it to leak again (after he fixed that).
  • Nim later encounters the same storm that suddenly blows across the island, blowing things all over the place, and she's frightened by this.
  • Nim climbs up a nearly sheer cliff, loses her footing, and briefly dangles there.
  • While up on the lip of a volcano, Nim experiences a small earthquake and thus rushes to get out of there. As she rappels down the side of the cliff, the tree her rope is attached to starts to pull away. She then scrambles to detach herself from the rope and does so just in time. Yet, she ends up slipping and falling down the cliff (a short distance), cutting her leg.
  • Nim panics when she spots a ship arriving at the island, especially since it's called The Buccaneer (the name of the ship in the story from her childhood that indirectly led to her mother's demise).
  • We see an overhead view that shows several sharks circling Jack's crippled boat.
  • Nim fakes a volcano eruption by causing large boulders to fall off the top. But in doing so, a large rock hits a horizontal part of the volcano, breaking it open and causing a mini-eruption. That sends Nim scrambling for safety (as she's right there), while various tourists flee the scene down below on the beach (but no one is harmed, and no lava is seen).
  • Alexandra is nervous as she's flown via a 2-person helicopter at night through a bad storm.
  • Alexandra flees from crewmembers who think she's crazy, gets into a rowboat, and hits the lever that sends it free-falling down to the water at night in a typhoon.
  • Parts of Jack's makeshift propeller blade start breaking apart (and then fly off, but miss him). Later, we see parts of his ship on the bottom of the sea, thus making us think something bad happened to him.
  • A large wave knocks Jack off his boat at night during a bad storm.
  • Alexandra is washed overboard from a rowboat at night in a bad storm. Nim goes to rescue her, but sees Alexandra sinking further away from her. After getting a fresh breath of air, Nim dives down again, and this time saves Alexandra.
  • We see a realized version of Alexandra's latest Alex story where one of Alex's captors carries a rifle and another a sword.
  • Alex wears a bullet belt over his shoulder and across his chest.
  • Phrases: What sounded like "This rots," "Bloody paradise," "Let's get out of this damned apartment," an incomplete "What the..?" what sounded like "Ladies and wenches" and "She's not playing with a full deck."
  • Some of the stunts and other action might be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • The captain of a ship has a gold tooth.
  • A ship crewmember litters on the island.
  • Nim launches various lizards through the air toward the invading tourists in hopes that it will drive them away.
  • None.
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful, action/adventure and heavily dramatic music plays in the film.
  • None.
  • At least 1 damn, 3 uses of "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "Godforsaken," "Good Lord" and "Oh God."
  • We see some shirtless male villagers in a realized version of Alexandra's latest Alex story.
  • We see Alexandra suddenly bolt upright (still seated) from being underwater in her bathtub, but we don't see any nudity.
  • We see Jack shirtless.
  • Alexandra shows a little cleavage in several scenes.
  • We see tourists in bathing suits, including standard trunks for men, one older woman in a bikini, and others sporting varying amounts of cleavage (including one large woman who shows a lot in her low-cut suit). There are also hula type female dancers in standard attire (bikini style top and grass skirts).
  • During a brief panic, a male tourist is knocked from an overturned porta-potty, and we see a brief glimpse of his lower bare back and/or very top of his bare butt -- but nothing explicit, and the view is from a distance).
  • None.
  • Nim states, in voice-over narration, that all she knows of her mom is from stories told by her dad. In one of them (seen as cartoon images), a ship, The Buccaneer, scares a whale her mom was watching, causing the whale to swallow her mom and the boat she's on.
  • Nim worries when she can't reach her dad by satellite phone.
  • Seeing a whale pass by, Jack calls out his late wife's name.
  • Some tourist parents worry when they can't find their pre-teen or early teenage son when it appears that a volcano is starting to erupt on the island (but he then appears).
  • Nim thinks that her dad is now dead (but Jack then shows up and everyone is happy again).
  • Living on a tropical island.
  • Growing up with only one parent.
  • Being a marine biologist.
  • Being a writer.
  • Suffering from agoraphobia.
  • The comment that courage is in every decision one makes every day.
  • We see a realized version of Alexandra's latest Alex story where he's being transported, bound and blindfolded. He then purposefully falls from his ride and hits, kicks, elbows and flips his captors, all while avoiding a pole (that he later uses for the flipping part) and a sword, all done in an exaggerated action fashion.
  • We see a realized version of Alexandra's latest Alex story where he's bound and hanging below a carried pole that's then thrown into a volcano (but the scene ends before he hits, since Alexandra can't decide how to finish it).
  • Distracted, Alexandra slips and falls on the moving belt of her treadmill that sends her shooting out of the camera view (we hear her crash into something -- all played for laughs).
  • Nim ends up slipping and falling down a cliff (a short distance), cutting and somewhat bloodying her leg.
  • Running to catch her flight, Alexandra accidentally knocks over a bookstand and the man standing by that.
  • Nim's pet lizard leaps down onto a tourist boy's face (played for laughs).
  • Nim launches various lizards through the air toward the invading tourists in hopes that it will drive them away (played for laughs).
  • A large wave knocks Jack off his boat at night during a bad storm.
  • Alexandra is washed overboard from a rowboat at night in a bad storm.
  • A lizard startles Alexandra, causing her to turn and smack into a tree face-first (but she's okay, and that's played for laughs).

  • Reviewed April 1, 2008 / Posted April 4, 2008

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