Australian Council on Children and the Media

A Cinderella Story

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for A Cinderella Story
  • a review of A Cinderella Story completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 23 September 2004.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to themes and lack of interest
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended due to themes
Children over the age of 13 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: A Cinderella Story
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes
Length 96 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Sam is brought up in San Fernando by her widowed father Hal who owns a diner. They share a very close, loving relationship but her world is shattered when her father dies during an earthquake. Prior to his death he had married Fiona and brought her and her twin daughters Brianna and Gabriella, into their home. Fiona now takes over the running of the house and the diner relocating Sam to the attic and putting her to work scrubbing floors and waiting on tables in the diner. Sam has high hopes of attending Princeton College and tries hard to juggle work and school.

In high school Sam is mercilessly harassed as being the ‘diner girl’ however she has a good friend in Carter, a bit of a nerd, and gets good grades. She secretly admires Austin Ames, the good looking captain of the football team who is going out with Shelby, the ‘popular’ girl at school. Austin also wants to go to Princeton but his father has great ambitions for him to win a football scholarship to USC and carry on the family tradition. However unbeknown to Sam she shares an email relationship with Austin whom she knows as Nomad, and who appreciates poetry. They arrange to meet on the dance floor at the Halloween Ball, but of course on this night Fiona demands she works in the diner. With the help of her good friend ‘Fairy Godmother’ Rhonda, Sam arrives looking beautiful at the ball. Austin of course falls in love with her but she has to leave before midnight to rush back to the diner before becoming discovered.

Austin now has to find his beautiful princess and in the process has to decide what he really wants out of life – to be himself or do what his father wishes. Sam too learns to stand up for herself and uncovers a few surprises when she decides to move out of home.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

None of concern

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There’s a bit of comic violence in this movie:

  • Sam hits Carter with a baseball accidentally
  • Solarium lid falls on Fiona
  • Brianna and Gabriella fall down the stairs dressed as Siamese twins
  • Carter punches David (Austin’s friend) for persisting with Shelby after she says no to him
  • Brianna and Gabriella get stuck in a car wash
  • There is also a lot of verbal harassment of Sam and Carter by the ‘cool’ people at school and Sam is publicly humiliated by the ‘mean girls’ and her twin stepsisters in front of a large crowd.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Children in this age group might be disturbed by the following:

  • Sam’s father’s death. Nothing is actually shown; he just doesn’t come home one day.
  • Fiona nearly crashes her car when one of the twins puts her foot on the pedal; this causes much havoc.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children over the age of eight are unlikely be disturbed by this movie.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children over the age of thirteen are unlikely to be disturbed by this movie.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are no sexual references.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no nudity or sexual activity but plenty of skimpy clothing and girls in bikinis.

Use of substances

There is no use of substances.

Coarse language

There is a small amount of coarse language, the occasional use of ‘butt’ and ‘oh my God’.

In a nutshell

There are a few underlying messages such as reaching for your dreams, assertiveness and that parents shouldn’t try to live their lives through their children.

Values parents may wish to encourage include:

  • friendship
  • loyalty
  • determination
  • assertiveness.

The following content could be used by parents to discuss with their children what their own family’s values are, and what the real life consequences can be of some actions and attitudes:

  • harassment and verbal abuse
  • lying
  • deceit
  • selfishness
  • putting too much emphasis on body image.

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