Story

Following the death of his wife and daughter, ‘Hideaway Tom’ (Jai Courtney) takes his young son Michael (Finn Little) to live in a shack by the beach. He can’t face people or deal with his grief, so he shuts himself and Michael off from the world. While exploring the sand dunes, Michael makes a friend of sorts in ‘Fingerbone Bill’ (Trevor Jamieson).

One day, Michael discovers a nest of newborn pelicans whose parents have been killed by hunters, so he vows to save them. Things look grim for the birds, whom Michael names Mr Proud, Mr Ponder and Mr Percival, who is the smallest. But Michael cares for them and goes to extremes to keep them safe. Little by little they grow, and a special bond develops between Michael and Mr Percival, who seems to sense that he owes his life to Michael. Michael trains the birds to fly, teaches them to fish, and ultimately sets them free. Despite his freedom, Mr Percival returns, and he and Michael become inseparable and devoted friends. When Mr Percival suddenly becomes a local hero, a series of events are set in motion and Michael finds himself leaving his father, his home and his heart behind.

Many years later Michael returns to the remains of the shack as the well-to-do Mr Kingsley (Geoffrey Rush). With him is his granddaughter, Madeleine (Morgana Davies), to whom he has been telling his life story. Michael hopes that by sharing his past with Madeleine, he can stop history from repeating itself and help her find her way in a world far more complicated than it should be.

Themes

Death of parents; death of a spouse; death of sibling; death of daughter; cruelty to animals

Violence

Storm Boy has some violence. For example:

  • A violent storm rages and a window shatters in an office building. Mr Kingsley peers into the storm trying to see a pelican in the distance. It looks as though he might fall through the window.
  • Hunters shoot pelicans and other birds from the sky. Most are killed, and others are simply left to die. There is repeated footage of this at different points in the movie.
  • Mr Percival flies at the hunters and tries to attack them after they shoot and kill a bunch of birds.

Sexual references

None of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Storm Boy shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Mr Kingsley falls asleep while telling Madeleine his story. There is an open wine bottle beside him, which Madeleine hides from the housekeeper. She offers to pour some into Mr Kingsley’s coffee.
  • Hideaway Tom drinks while living in the shack by the sea. He even has a special shot glass, which Michael begins using to feed his pelicans.
  • Beer cans float in the water.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

Storm Boy has some coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Storm Boy is an Australian drama based on the book by Colin Thiele. It is a touching tale of love and loss and hope. It’ll appeal to a wide audience and has lessons for every age.

The main messages from this movie are to trust your heart, treasure your family and stand up for what’s right, no matter what anyone else thinks.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include love, determination, compassion, justice and ingenuity.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:

  • hunting and the effect that it has on animal populations and the environment
  • conservation of the environment and wildlife
  • work-life balance and how lack of balance can cause your family to suffer
  • the consequences of shutting yourself off from the world or love, because you’re trying to escape pain from the past. Not facing difficult emotions can lead to worse suffering.