‘The Sea Beast’ showcases the power, beauty of nonviolence

This is a still image from the film The Sea Beast, now streaming on Netflix.

“The Sea Beast” (Netflix/ Sony Pictures Imageworks)

Genre: Family and kids

Streaming service: Netflix

Rating: PG (some language and animated action/violence)


Summary: When a young girl stows away on the ship of a legendary sea monster hunter, they launch an epic journey into uncharted waters — and make history to boot.

Overall impression: “I don’t know how the war started, maybe all that matters is how it ends,” says orphan Maisie Brumble, protagonist of “The Sea Beast.” This message is a poignant one of mercy, understanding and nonviolence.

For generations, the humans in this film’s universe have feared predatory “sea beasts.” Monster hunters are heroes in the eyes of the monarchy and its constituents. Maisie, whose parents died while hunting sea beasts, idolizes these hunters from the safety of her orphanage, longing to join them. She runs away and sneaks onboard a vessel.

In the midst of a battle, the ultimate sea beast — the Red Bluster — catches Maisie and superstar monster hunter Jacob in its mouth and swims away. The unlikely duo, separated from their ship, eventually escape from the monster through its nostrils — but not before Maisie has an opportunity to look her enemy in the eye. The beast hesitates, and Maisie asks Jacob to do the same.

Small gestures of kindness turn into friendship between Maisie and the titular creature, who agrees to help the duo navigate back to civilization. “I told ya she was more than a beast,” Maisie tells Jacob. Jacob seems to understand this but finds it hard to accept because hunting sea beasts is all he knows.

Jacob wonders how Maisie can trust “Red,” especially since sea beasts were responsible for killing her parents. “Maybe you can be a hero and still be wrong,” she suggests.

Ultimately, all of the main characters must choose between peace and continued violence, including the Red Bluster. It is a difficult decision for all of them, as their identities are deeply intertwined with their legacies.

The Sea Beast, with its beautiful animation, positive message, diverse cast and exhilarating action scenes, would be an excellent choice for your next movie night.

Discussion questions:

Why is it so hard to forgive people who have wronged you?

What aspect of this movie did you find most relatable?

This movie features a diverse cast, including a Black protagonist. Do you feel this film approached diversity in a positive way? Why or why not?

(Editor’s note: Lindsay Steele is a reporter for The Catholic Messenger. Contact her at steele@davenportdiocese.org or by phone at (563) 888-4248.)

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