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Dark Waters | 2019 | PG-13 | – 3.4.5

content-ratingsWhy is “Dark Waters” rated PG-13? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “thematic content, some disturbing images and strong language.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a kiss and some cleavage revealing dresses; a cow is shot and killed when it charges a man, several scenes of illness and the effects of chemicals on animals and humans including seeing affected organs, and several scenes of arguments and discussions about a legal case; and at least 3 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”


Based on the true story of an Ohio corporate attorney (Mark Ruffalo) that took on DuPont, his firm’s largest corporate client, over dumping hazardous waste into waterways, creating health risks to humans and livestock. Moreover, the corporation executives did so knowingly, having been made aware of the inherent dangers. Also with Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, William Jackson Harper, Bill Pullman, Mare Winningham and Victor Garber. Directed by Todd Haynes. [Running Time: 2:06]

Dark Waters SEX/NUDITY 3

 – A man and a woman take off their clothes and swim in a lake (we see bare buttocks and backs under water). A nude painting hangs in the background of a scene and we see a woman’s bare back and buttocks.
 A husband and his wife hug and kiss.
 A boy talks about Mary (it’s not clear which Mary he refers to) being a “hooker” and his younger brother asks, “What’s a hooker?” and his older brother tells him that they should say, “Prostitute.” A woman says, “Law is a jealous mistress” when her husband is working during a family gathering. A man makes a disparaging remark about women leaving their careers to have families.


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Dark Waters VIOLENCE/GORE 4

 – A cow stands near two men, it seems to growl and bucks and when it charges toward one man, and one man gets into a truck and the other shoots it; the cow falls to the ground and when the man with the gun moves toward it, it lunges at him and the man shoots it again (blood sprays and the man is thrown back onto the ground). A dog growls and spins around unnaturally in a yard in a few scenes.
 A man pulls a cow’s tongue out of a freezer and we see that it is discolored and swollen unnaturally; he then pulls out a jawbone with blackened teeth, a large red tumor and a jar with a malformed hoof in it (as evidence of poisoning). A video shows dead cows as a man talks about the eyes being deeply sunken into their heads, and their teeth are blackened (flies buzz around the corpses). A man picks something up from the bank of a lake and holds it in the air (it looks like a dead frog). We see a field with many raised mounds that a man says are where he buried 190 of his cows that got sick and died. A young teen girl is shown with blackened teeth. A dog has a tumor on its back (we see it through its fur).
 A house is shown in flames and a man suggests that someone set the fire deliberately. A man starts his car and winces when it engages, fearing that the car might blow up. A man runs through an empty parking garage and seems frightened; he sees a man standing in the distance as if he is watching him. People are shown gathered at a graveside funeral.
 Two men on a boat yell at a man and a woman swimming in a lake and tell them to get out; we see the boatman spraying something on the surface of the water that fizzes and the word “Containment” is painted on the side of the boat. A man with a box of video tapes yells at a man in an office and complains that he and his livestock are being poisoned by a company illegally dumping in a creek and that he needs help. Men yell during a meeting about a case. Two men yell at each other and one man tells the other man that he will have to take another pay cut. A husband and his wife argue and he tells her that a company is poisoning their unborn baby. Two men argue and one threatens the other with physical violence. A man and his family are stared at by people in church and we hear that they are being shunned from the community because they spoke out against the dumping practices of a large chemical company. A husband and his wife argue about whether they can afford to send their three boys to Catholic school. A man yells and says, “The system is rigged.” We hear that men were given cigarettes laced with a chemical to test its toxicity (they all ended up with various cancers). We hear that experiments were performed on rats and monkeys to determine the effects of a chemical (we see pictures of a dissected rat and rats with tumors). We hear that a man died from testicular cancer. We hear that pregnant women working in a plant and exposed to chemicals delivered babies with serious defects and malformations (we see a picture of an infant born with one nostril and one eye). We hear that chemicals were buried in barrels and when the barrels began to break down, the chemicals leached into the soil and water. Men in a meeting room discuss cleanup of Superfund Sites. A man talks to another man about chemicals and what would happen if you drank something with a particular chemical in it; the other man replies that you wouldn’t. Several men wheel stacks of boxes containing documents into an office storeroom and when a man drops one box, a puff of dust blows into the air. A woman describes people in a chemical plant getting sick and that they called it the “Teflon Flu.” We hear that the EPA leveled a fine against a chemical company. We hear that a woman’s mother is celebrating her anniversary at chemo. We hear that blood testing determined irrefutable evidence of links to 6 categories of illness caused by chemicals knowingly used by a company. We hear that a man and a woman have cancer.
 A man coughs deeply in a few scenes and in one scene in a doctor’s office we see that he has sores on his arms also. A man’s hand shakes uncontrollably in a couple of scenes and in one scene he collapses on the floor and is rushed to the hospital (he had a TIA). We see lines of people waiting to have their blood drawn for testing to determine contamination.


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Dark Waters LANGUAGE 5

 – About 3 F-words, 5 scatological terms, 3 anatomical terms, 12 mild obscenities, name-calling (stupid, union busting, no-name college, jokesters, lady lawyers, fishing expedition, hick, evil, sham, shakedown, ambulance chasers, willful negligence, crazy place, girls, nonsense, obsessing), exclamations (are you kidding me, why on Earth, what in the world, shut-up, calm down, oh come on, jeez), 3 religious profanities (GD), 14 religious exclamations (e.g. Jesus, God, Holy Jesus, For Christ’s Sake, Holy [scatological term deleted], Jesus [F-word deleted] Christ, For God’s Sake, I Swear To God, What In God’s Name, Oh My Lord, Jesus Mary And Joseph, Oh My God, a woman says a prayer before a meal). | profanity glossary |


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Dark Waters SUBSTANCE USE

 – A woman says that her brother is back in rehab. People drink wine with dinner in a few scenes, a woman drinks wine at a family gathering, and people in a bar drink cocktails and beer. A man smokes a cigarette on a street.


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Dark Waters DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – The DuPont conglomerate, landfills vs. dumps, hazardous waste, racism, EPA, hazardous chemicals, fear, sexism, unemployment, arson, human health issues, propaganda, standard of safety, passion, Medical Monitoring, gag orders, the Manhattan Project, sacrifice, dumping, willful negligence.

Dark Waters MESSAGE

 – Unless the industrial use of chemicals is regulated by a governing body, chemical companies will continue to hide the truth in order to make profits.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.



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