Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says Iffy for 14+
Messy but engrossing epic about race, love, and war.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this historical melodrama stars popular Aussies Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, but even with that level of celebrity wattage, it's unlikely to attract tweens and younger teens. But older teens, especially mature girls, may be drawn to the romance that's played up in the advertising. The film deals with mature themes like racism, greed, war, class consciousness, and sexual politics. The violence is realistic and occasionally bloody -- characters are speared, shot, burned, drowned, and beaten. The characters' sexual chemistry and tension turns into several passionate kisses and a love-making scene in which bare shoulders, a man's chest, and a woman's underwear, back, and legs are all visible. The Northern Territory is portrayed as full of hard-drinking, aboriginal-hating men and demure, high-society couples. Mature teens who see the film are likely to learn about about Australia's role in World War II and how the country historically treated its indigenous people.
- Families can talk about the film's big issues. What do your kids think about the way the film addresses race, and how do they think things have changed since the film's era?
- How were World War II-era racial tensions in Australia similar to and
different from those in America?
- How accurate do you think the movie is
in portraying Australia's history? What did you learn about the country
that you didn't know before seeing the movie?
The good stuff
Positive messages: The movie's historically accurate storyline -- in which half-aboriginal, half-white children are taken away from their homes and taught how to be domestic servants in white society -- is meant to teach an historical lesson about racism toward native cultures. Other messages include love triumphing against the odds and people finding family in unexpected places.
Positive role models: A woman is underestimated as not being brave or bold enough to run her
own cattle farm in a dangerous territory, but she shows the men around
her that she can hold her own. A couple from different social classes falls in love and further goes against the norms of the time by socializing with aboriginal people. Some characters are outright villains with no redeeming qualities.
What to watch for
Violence: Several scenes of disturbing violence, including two men being speared to death, one man getting thrown into crocodile-infested waters, a woman drowning, a man being trampled to death by a stampede of cows, a young boy being struck by an adult, World War II bombings/explosions, burned characters, and the death of a well-liked character. A few instances of violence are episodes of men sacrificing themselves to save other characters. A kangaroo is hunted, but the scene is played for laughs.
Sexy stuff: The film's stars have an electric chemistry that's accompanied by a lot of sexual tension. Jackman's character in particular is depicted as incredibly sexually attractive; there are several scenes of him shirtless. A scene in which a white man knocks on an aboriginal woman's door for sex (he's later shown buckling his belt, etc.) is somewhat disturbing. A couple passionately kisses several times and makes love on a bed, but there's no nudity. A woman takes a bath in front of a man (no camera shots below the shoulders). A boy is aware of sexual behavior and calls it "wrong-headed business."
Language: Lots of "crikey"; other language includes infrequent uses of words like "damn," "bloody," and "bastard." One use of "f--king." Several characters use disparaging terms to refer to aboriginal and half-aboriginal people, including "creamy."
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Australians are portrayed as hard drinking. Various adults drink hard liquor in and out of a pub. One man is known as a drunk and sneaks alcohol on most occasions.