Australian Council on Children and the Media

A Mighty Wind

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Short takes

Parental guidance under 8 (Viol.)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for A Mighty Wind
  • a review of A Mighty Wind completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 28 July 2003.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 While there is nothing in this movie that is scary or violent, it is not recommended for children under seven who would find it boring.
Children aged 8-13 Might be okay with parental guidance.
Children over the age of 13 Should be okay with or without parental guidance.

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 Mighty Wind
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Sexual references
Length 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Irving Steinbloom, a one time manager of sixties’ folk groups, has just died and his son Jonathan is determined to preserve his memory. He wants to put on a tribute concert to his Dad and so gets in touch with three of the groups he used to manage: the Folksmen; the Main Street Singers; and Mitch and Mickey who were all very popular in their day. The members are now of course aging, but are all quite happy to reunite to do this concert.

There are some problems however. The Folksmen can’t agree on what songs they should sing; Mitch has spent some years in a psychiatric hospital after having a nervous breakdown and is now a very intense, reclusive person; the Main Street Singers have changed their name to the New Main Street Singers and are involved in ‘WINK’ (witches of nature’s colours).

All of this causes Jonathan Steinbloom, a compulsively organised person, quite a few headaches and leads to some very funny moments. However the night finally arrives and the ‘Ode to Irving’ goes off with a few hitches.

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 is only one instance of comic violence when Jonathan is being overly pedantic about the flower arrangement in the entrance to the Town Hall and the compere bops him on the head.

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.

There is nothing scary in this movie apart from possibly Mitch who looks very weird and might scare very young children.

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.

Some children in the age group may also be scared by the above.

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.

Nothing of concern.

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.

Nothing of concern.

Product placement

None of concern.

Sexual references

There are quite a few sexual references in this movie including:

  • One of the female singers in the New Main Street Singers implies that she made her way to the top by appearing in pornographic movies
  • Mickey’s husband has a model railway set in a town called Crab Town (their surname) which includes a brothel and a French quarter.
  • The couple from the New Main Street Singers are performing some kind of a ritual with candles which they say represents a penis.
  • Mickey’s sister accuses her of ‘leading Mitch on’ by kissing him on the stage and says that she shouldn’t have kissed him if she didn’t want to go ‘all the way’.
  • One of the Folksmen becomes a transvestite at the end of the movie

Nudity and sexual activity

Mitch is staying in a seedy motel room and twice while he is practising his music, a couple in the next room are obviously having sex: the bed has very noisy springs; the wall shakes and the picture moves; the woman makes loud moaning noises.

Use of substances

There is some drinking of alcohol and Mitch appears to be on drugs most of the time.

Coarse language

There is not a lot of coarse language; however, there are a couple of profanities: ‘Jesus’ and ‘Oh my God’ a few times.

In a nutshell

There is really no take-home message in this movie. Values parents may wish to discourage include having to do whatever it takes to get to the top.

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