River Wild, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +4

Content: -1

THE RIVER WILD is a suspenseful, spectacular white-water rafting drama featuring a family of three in grave danger. In Boston, husband and wife, Tom (David Strathairn) and Gail (Meryl Streep), are having difficulty with their marriage, and their 10 year old son Roark (Joseph Mazzello) knows it. In desperation, Gail and Tom take Roark on a white-water rafting vacation in the West in hopes it will bring them closer together. Strictly by chance, they soon find themselves in trouble when three escaping robbers hijack their raft and force Gail, who knows the river from previous trips, to guide them through the rapids. The leader of the gang, Wade (Kevin Bacon), is a vicious killer and a constant threat to the family, particularly when they make desperate attempts to escape. The intensity of their conflict and the excitement of battling the raging white water never lets up. Viewers will be held spellbound wondering how it will all turn out. Streep gives a particularly impressive performance as a loving mom and daring oarswoman. THE RIVER WILD is one of the best adventure thrillers to come out of Hollywood in quite some time.

Tom's preoccupation with his job has put a strain on his and Gail's marriage, but their relationship is not bitter or vindictive. Both are devoted to Roark and his younger sister. In one touching scene, Gail's mother encourages her to stay with Tom and is proud that in her time there was no easy way out of marriage. And the gruelling rafting experience does bring the family closer together. Roark is a decent kid and shows real stamina and courage during the wild raft ride. On several occasions, Wade brutally beats Tom and in two intense scenes tries to kill him. Also, in frenzied attempts to escape, Gail fiercely fights off Wade or his cohort. However, the violence is neither exploitive nor sadistic and forms an integral part of the story. The only real disappointment in the film is the use of several obscenities and profanities. Although they supposedly add realism, the story would not have lost any of its impact without them. THE RIVER WILD is an exciting, mostly wholesome, film marred only by some unnecessary foul language.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Universal Pictures, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City CA 9608

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (12) times - Mild 10, Moderate 2

Obscene Language: Several (9) times (s-word 7, f-word 1, Others 1)

Profanity: Several (9) times - Regular 3 (G,GD), Exclamatory 6.

Violence: Many times - Moderate (Slapping, striking, kicking, fighting, shooting threat, shoot & kill, strike in groin, rough treatment)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times - Mild (Husband and wife allude to sex; man watches woman bathe in river (no nudity)

Drugs: None

Other: Mother encourages daughter to preserve her marriage

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Ten and older

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