Story

The movie Noah opens with a voice-over in which we learn that Noah, a descendant of Seth, and his family are all who remain of the goodness of mankind. Meanwhile the descendants of Cain spread wickedness across the Earth.

The movie’s main story begins when the young Noah is about to receive his birthright from his father, Lamech (Martan Csokas). During the ceremony the young self-proclaimed king Tubal-Cain arrives, announcing that he will take all that Lamech possesses. Tubal-Cain kills Lamech, but Noah escapes into the wilderness.

Years later Noah (Russell Crowe) is living a secluded life with his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly), his three sons, Shem (Douglas Booth), Ham (Logan Lerman) and Japheth (Leo McHugh Carroll), and a young adopted girl called Ila (Emma Watson). After experiencing nightmares involving the destruction of mankind by drowning, Noah seeks out his reclusive grandfather Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins) in the hope of gaining some answers. While visiting Methuselah, Noah has a vision in which he realises the Creator’s plan – Noah is to build a gigantic ark that will save the innocent beings of the world, including animals, from a catastrophic flood that the Creator is sending to destroy the wickedness of mankind.

Despite many difficulties, the ark is finally completed as the rains begin. An army led by Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone) arrives and tries to storm the ark. With the help of fallen angels, called the Watchers, Noah and his family escape, together with two of every type of animal. Aboard the ark in the following months, Noah and his family endure many trials that test their faith, but eventually the rains subside and the ark comes to rest on the side of a mountain.

Themes

God as Creator; Bible stories; religious faith; good versus evil

Violence

Noah contains battle violence involving people using clubs, stakes, spears and rocks. At times, this violence is brutal and disturbing, and includes graphic images of violence against animals. There is some blood and gore. Here are some examples:

  • Several times throughout Noah, scenes show a silhouetted image of Cain holding a large rock, raising his arms and bringing the rock down to brutally smash Abel’s head. At one point, the same silhouette image is repeated several times. Each time, the image transforms to represent human conflict from ancient to modern times.
  • One scene shows some men with clubs and sharpened sticks attacking an unarmed man. The man pulls a broken arrow from a wounded animal and uses the arrow to stab one attacker in the side of the neck and another in the thigh. Blood pours from a large bloody wound in the man’s thigh. By the end of the short fight, all the attackers lie dead on the ground.
  • In several scenes Noah says that the Creator is going to destroy mankind.
  • In two scenes, a man bludgeons other men with a spiked hammer. In one scene blood sprays out as the man falls to the ground. In the other scene blood and gore drip from the hammer.
  • One scene has images of large fireballs raining down on a gathering of thousands of people, engulfing them in fire.
  • In a fierce battle an angry mob attacks a dozen Watchers. The Watchers use giant clubs to smash their attackers, and bodies and severed limbs fly through the air in all directions. One man lies on the ground with a large bloody wound in his leg and blood on his face. Watchers are impaled on metal stakes, chopped in the neck with large axes and hit with burning stones. Noah spears one attacker in the back, strikes another in the chest with an axe, and cuts the throat of an attacker with a knife.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Noah has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • The Watchers are gigantic, grotesque creatures with glowing eyes made from rocks. When the Watchers are killed, they explode out of their rock-like skins in a beam of white light.
  • In one scene thousands of snakes, lizards and insects slither and crawl across the ground to get to the ark. Noah’s youngest child screams and runs away from the slithering mass.
  • Several flashback scenes show brief images of a large snake with a green head slithering along the ground. The snake sheds its skin to show a hissing black head with large fangs. 

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Noah has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • There are bloody scenes of animals being butchered.
  • A live animal is thrown over a fence into a crowd of people. They rip the animal apart and eat it raw.
  • A man cuts the throat of a large sleeping animal. Blood gushes out and sprays over the face of a boy standing nearby. A short time later the dead animal lies with its stomach cut open and its entrails hanging out and draping across the ground.
  • One scene has apocalyptic images of a giant tidal wave washing away and drowning hundreds of people. Dozens of people beneath the wave are tossed around as if in a washing machine. A short time later hundreds of people cling to the side of a mountain as flood waters rage around them. They scream out for mercy and plead to be saved. A giant wave sweeps the clinging people from the rock and washes them away. Inside the ark Noah’s family are emotionally and psychologically distressed by the death and destruction they hear happening outside.
  • Noah and his family find a young girl at a scene of carnage. She has a large bloody sword wound across her abdomen. Noah’s wife smears ointment on the wound. 

From 8-13

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Noah has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • In a large mob of people, a man drags a screaming girl away by her hair. The man exchanges the girl for a piece of meat and says that he has two girls to exchange for meat.
  • A teenage boy rescues a girl from a large pit containing hundreds of dead bodies. They escape through a forest chased by an angry mob. The girl gets her foot caught in an animal trap and falls to the ground screaming in pain. The boy tries in vain to release the girl’s foot, and his father pulls him out of the path of the angry mob while the girl is trampled to death. 

Over 13

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Noah has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group.

For example, during the voyage of the ark Ila becomes pregnant. Noah tells the girl and his family that if she has a daughter he will kill the baby at the moment of her birth. Noah suggests that he doesn’t want to do it but that it is God’s will. When the young woman gives birth to twin daughters, Noah stands over Ila and the babies holding a large hunting style knife as Ila pleads with him not to kill her daughters. Noah holds the knife to the chest of one of the infants but becomes distressed and can’t kill them, kissing the infants on their heads instead. 

Sexual references

Noah contains occasional sexual references. For example:

  • Noah’s teenage son asks Noah about a mate for himself. He tells Noah that he needs to be a man and that Noah is stopping him from being a man by not giving him a woman. Noah tells son that he is blinded by desire.
  • Shem’s partner Ila tells Noah that she can’t have children and that Shem needs a ‘real’ woman to give him a family. She says that she knows Noah is going to find women for his other two sons and that she wants him to find one for Shem too.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Noah shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Noah drinks a cup of tea. It appears to be laced with a drug that causes him to hallucinate and have prophetic visions.
  • Noah drinks wine from a cup and gets so drunk that he falls down unconscious. 

Nudity and sexual activity

Noah contains some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • Shem and Ila run through a forest in a playful manner, fall to the ground and kiss passionately. He lifts her shirt to reveal her bare abdomen and kisses an old scar on her stomach. In a later scene she kisses him passionately and starts taking off her clothes.
  • Ila goes into labour, gasping in pain. There is the sound of her waters breaking and splashing on to the deck. A short time later she lies on her back in the advanced stages of labour. Naameh hands her a newborn infant, shortly followed by a second.

Product placement

None

Coarse language

None of concern

Ideas to discuss with your children

Noah is an emotionally and visually intense portrayal of the Bible tale of Noah’s Ark. It is targeted at an older adolescent and adult audience.

This movie has scenes and images that will disturb children under 13 years, and which might also disturb slightly older children. These include bloody battles, scenes of violent mobs and cruelty to animals.

These are the main messages from Noah:

  • Although religion provides guidance for life, humans have the ability to make their own choices and determine their own destiny.
  • People have a collective responsibility to care for each other, and also for the world and the environment.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include persistence through adversity. Throughout the movie, Noah maintains his faith and beliefs regardless of the trials he encounters and the personal cost.

You could also talk with your children about the emotional conflict Noah suffers as a result of conflict between his faith and his own moral reasoning. Are there circumstances when following your faith should override a country’s laws? Should one person’s faith and beliefs take precedence over another person’s faith and beliefs?