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What Parents Should Know Before Their Kids See Thirteen Lives

Directed by Ron Howard, "Thirteen Lives" is set to premiere in theaters on July 29 before being released for streaming on Amazon Prime Video on August 5. The film will dramatize the Tham Luang cave rescue, an event that attracted global interest at the time (via Variety). 

In June and July 2018, 12 young soccer players and their coach were trapped deep in a cave in Northern Thailand, which flooded when monsoon rains came early (via NPR). Once the group was located by a team of British cave divers, recovery efforts were hindered by a number of seemingly insurmountable challenges, as reported by the BBC. With the situation growing more precarious by the hour, per The Guardian, rescue efforts began in earnest, an operation made possible by hundreds of volunteers. The film is set to star Viggo Mortensen as Rick Stanton and Colin Farrell as John Volanthen, the cave divers who initially found the boys. Joel Edgerton will be playing Dr. Richard Harris, a doctor with cave diving experience who played a crucial role in getting the team out of the cave (via Flinders University).

While an action-adventure film might seem like a great pick for family movie night, some parents may be wondering whether or not the movie is suitable for young viewers. However, there is information available that can help parents and caregivers make an informed decision before settling down for quality time with the kids.

The movie is based on a harrowing true story

Parents looking for information regarding the film's content and maturity level should know that the events that inspired "Thirteen Lives" were deeply traumatic, and the rescue of the children was nothing short of a miracle. While the plot will focus on the efforts that led to their rescue, it's entirely possible that there will be scenes that young viewers and their caregivers could find distressing. The teammates, boys aged 11 to 16, were trapped in the dark cave for over two weeks (via The Guardian). Before the group was found by cave divers, they had no food and were surviving by drinking water dripping from the cavern walls (via BBC).

The MPAA has rated the film as PG-13 for "strong language and unsettling images" (via IMDb). This classification lines up with what's shown in the trailer, which conveys the immense pressure and life-threatening obstacles faced by those involved in the rescue efforts. Conditions were so perilous that a former Thai Navy Seal and highly skilled diver named Saman Gunan died (via BBC). The boys and their coach were ultimately sedated, then attached to trained divers who navigated the treacherous path to the surface (via Insider).

Although certain parts of the story may be altered or toned down for dramatic purposes, the claustrophobic and dangerous conditions depicted in the trailer will undoubtedly play a role in the narrative. Based on this information, it's likely that the film will be comparable to other PG-13 movies in terms of mature themes.