One afternoon in Northern Thailand, a football coach takes his team of 12 boys to their favourite hangout at the Tham Luang cave. While they’re inside, a sudden downpour floods the cave and the boys become trapped. Unable to get out, they retreat further into the cavernous depths, trying to escape the rising waters. Huddled in a spot 3 miles from the entrance, the boys sit in pitch darkness, catching water droplets on their tongues, waiting for the flood to recede and talking about what they’ll do when they finally get home.
Meanwhile, outside the cave’s entrance, authorities are setting up a rescue centre to drain the cave and reach the boys. Local farmers and families drop everything to help and, as the story is broadcast nationally, more people arrive to help with the rescue efforts. Unfortunately, everyone must battle red tape and bureaucracy. When a specially trained Thai Navy Seal dies trying to reach the boys, the complexity and seriousness of the situation hits home.
As the rescuers battle time and torrential rain, professional cave divers from around the world come forward. These men form a team to do what they’re told can’t be done. While the world waits with baited breath, these men risk everything in a final, desperate effort to reach the boys and bring them back alive.
Children separated from parents; sacrificing a life to save someone else; the powerful and sometimes destructive forces of nature; political bureaucracy
The Cave has some violence. For example, it includes a story about a princess and a stable boy, who fall in love. The king is unhappy about this and orders his soldiers to kill the boy. Unable to live without her true love, the princess stabs herself with her pin. Legend has it that the rising waters are her lifeblood, flooding the cave at the base of the mountain.
There are no sexual references in The Cave.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
The Cave shows some use of substances. For example, the boys are sedated with horse tranquilisers while they’re extracted from the cave.
Nudity and sexual activity
The Cave has some nudity and sexual activity. For example, a diver is shown with a bare chest as he helps other divers enter the cave.
The following products are displayed or used in The Cave:
- The manufacturer of turbo jet water pumps brings pumps to the cave site.
- While the boys are trapped, they talk about what they want to eat and mention KFC. They reminisce about a time that they all ate there together. Later rescuers are shown in a makeshift tent, eating big buckets of KFC.
- Cave divers mention Jack Daniels and Guinness.
The Cave has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Cave is a largely subtitled movie about the heroic, self-sacrificing and seemingly impossible cave rescue of 2018 that captivated the world. The movie highlights the selflessness of ordinary Thai people whose livelihoods were destroyed by the rescue efforts, who gave everything they had, and who refused to accept any compensation. Likewise, the movie introduces the heroes who risked their lives to save the young football team trapped behind a wall of water 3 miles beneath a mountain.
These are the main messages from The Cave:
- Have faith.
- Believe in the impossible, and believe in each other.
- Miracles can happen when humanity unites to achieve a common goal.
Values in The Cave that you could reinforce with your children include persistence, friendship, hope, sacrifice, determination and teamwork.
The Cave could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- telling people where you’re going and when you’ll be back
- obeying warning signs about danger
- being willing to do a dangerous job and even sacrifice yourself to save others
- wanting to look like you’re important, regardless of what an expert in the field says – for example, insisting on using the small pumps to drain the caves rather than the turbo jets
- refusing international help or expertise and wanting to do things on your own – for example, initially refusing to allow international cave divers to assist with the rescue.