Nim’s Island tells the story of 11-year-old Nim (Abigail Breslin), who has lived on a secret island with her scientist father, Jack (Gerard Butler), since the death of her mother when she was a baby. Nim is left alone on the island for a few days when Jack leaves on a scientific voyage to find rare algae. Nim enjoys her time alone on the island reading her favourite Alex Rover adventure novels until all hours and hanging out with her animal friends.
Things change when a bad storm hits and leaves Jack stranded at sea. Nim now has to fend for herself against several natural and some not-so-natural threats. Despite her resilience and courage, Nim is frightened at being alone and worried for her father’s safety. When she receives a chance email from her favourite adventure novelist, Alex Rover, Nim decides to ask for help, believing that Alex is the male hero described in the books.
On the other side of the globe, Alex Rover (Jodie Foster) is the complete opposite of her alter-ego hero (also played by Gerard Butler). The real Alex struggles with agoraphobia that has kept her housebound for several months. When she receives an SOS from Nim, a little girl alone and afraid, she decides to confront her fears and find the courage of her book character to help her.
There is adventure, action and courage aplenty as Nim, her father and Alex Rover fight their fears to find their way to one another.
Death of a parent; a child separated from a parent and left to deal perilous situations alone
- Several scenes in the style of Indiana Jones movies show a man captured by attackers.
- There is a fight scene with knives, and a man is killed.
- A man is tied to a pole and thrown into a volcano.
- There is a cartoon depiction of Nim’s mother’s death, which shows her being eaten by a whale.
Content that may disturb children
- There are several intense storm scenes. Nim and her animal friends are threatened by two bad storms that destroy the home that she and her father have built. Nim is shown feeling frightened and cowering in the middle of the treehouse with her animals. Jack’s boat is capsized by a huge wave and he is knocked out of the boat.
- Jack’s boat is circled by several sharks while he is stranded at sea.
- Nim falls from a mountain, scrapes her knee badly and bleeds.
- At one stage a volcano begins to erupt, spewing out steam and ash. Several people are at risk of being hurt and there is a mass exit from the island, leaving Nim alone to deal with the erupting volcano.
- Alex almost drowns and is rescued by Nim.
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes described above, particularly the notion of an 11-year-old girl left alone to face danger.
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There is minimal use of substances throughout this movie. There is one scene where adults are drinking cocktails on the beach.
Nudity and sexual activity
Women are shown wearing brief swimwear and revealing cleavage.
The following products are displayed or used in this movie: Purcell hand sanitiser, Coca-Cola, Apple computers, National Geographic, Progresso soup (American brand) and Avanti.
This movie contains infrequent, very mild coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Nim’s Island is an adventure film with a strong female role model based on the book of the same name by Wendy Orwell. The main messages from this movie are that courage is a choice we make and that you can be the hero of your own life story.
You could talk about these messages as well the values of resilience, determination and independence, individuality, family connection, and love of science, books and learning. You might also find it interesting to talk about how you would deal in real life with situations that force you to confront your own fears and how you would cope living without technology.