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Riding Giants Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune

    It's the tales from Noll and his mates, now older and chubbier, that give heart to what otherwise could have faded into PBS special-land.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Riding Giants is about altogether another reality. The overarching fact about these surfers is the degree of their obsession.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Every sport, and every sports film, must have its superman. The role is filled here by Laird Hamilton, who, we are told -- and, more astonishingly, shown -- took "the single most significant ride in surfing history." Seeing is believing.

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Traces the sport to its Polynesian beginnings, then zooms in on the genesis of 20th- century Southern California surf culture -- the boards, the bikinis, the laid-back cowabunga.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 12+

Lively look at big wave surfing.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that young surfers and surfer wannabes will be very interested in seeing this movie that could have been a PG without the profanity. Interestingly, it's the older surfers who have the worst cases of potty mouth. Other than that, there's not much to worry about. There are multiple wipeouts, including one that killed a famous surfer. We hear of other surfers dying as well. In old footage we see a group of young surfers squirting lighter fluid into their mouths and then spitting it into flames -- you may want to let your kids know that this Jackass-style trick is not a good idea.

  • Families can talk about the laid-back attitudes many of the surfer have about taking risks and facing death -- why do they feel they must accept the challenge of riding a dangerously big wave, even though they know they have a good chance of dying while trying? What do you think of the idea of devoting your life to riding the perfect wave? Does this movie promote or dispel stereotypes about surfers and surfing?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The surfers have about a laid-back attitude about taking risks and facing death.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: We see some wipeouts (including one that killed a surfer), but nothing graphic is shown. We hear about surfers dying.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Not an issue

  • language false3

    Language: Some strong language, including one f-word.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some smoking is briefly seen, but if you blinked, you would miss it.