Australian Council on Children and the Media

Aquamarine

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Sex. Themes.)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Aquamarine
  • a review of Aquamarine completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 October 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to sexual references and themes.
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended.
Children over the age of 13 Should be ok to see this movie with or without parental guidance, but discussion of themes could still be beneficial.

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: Aquamarine
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Infrequent mild coarse language
Length 103 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Hailey (Joanna ‘JoJo’ Levesque) and Claire (Emma Roberts) are thirteen years old, the best of friends, and are spending their last summer vacation together before Hailey relocates to Australia. They spend a lot of time at the beach, trying to get the attention of Raymond (Jake McDorman) a young blond lifeguard, but must compete with the older, more sophisticated and more developed bikini clad Cecilia (Arielle Kebbel) and her two sidekicks.

One night during a violent storm, Hailey, sad at her impending separation from Claire, calls upon ancient sea gods to keep her and Claire together. Suddenly giant waves are created by the storm and a mermaid named Aquamarine (Sara Paxton) is washed into Claire’s swimming pool. Hailey and Claire find her, and the three become good friends. The girls discover that Aquamarine is being forced into an arranged marriage which she can only avoid if she convinces her father that love isn’t a myth by making a boy fall in love with her.

The girls agree to help Aquamarine to win Raymond’s heart, and in return Aquamarine will offers them a wish each, which they intend to use to prevent them from being separated.

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.

Adolescent friendship, Spiteful teenage behaviour

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 some physical violence in this movie including:

  • at a spa party, Cecilia, knowing that Claire has a phobia of water, orders a teenage boy to pick her up and throw her in the pool. Claire has a severe panic attack and screams, kicks and cries. The boy eventually put Claire down at which point she runs away crying
  • Cecilia pushes Aquamarine off of a jetty into the sea and she is sucked in by a whirlpool.

It is worth noting, that the lead female characters behave spitefully towards each other, and engage in frequent mean spirited teasing and emotional manipulation. Examples include:

  • reference to Cecilia as a “sand witch”
  • “Who ordered broom service!”
  • Aquamarine tells Cecilia that her name means “dim sighted”
  • Cecilia’s response to Hailey refusing to get a tan was “You’re such a loser.”
  • Aquamarine spits water all over the front of Cecilia.
  • Hailey and Claire tell Cecilia “Don’t make a bigger fool of your self than you already have.” Cecilia runs off crying.
  • Hailey and Claire say hurtful things to each other during an argument.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned scenes and verbal exchanges, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • the caretaker (Bruce Spence) is creepy looking and Hailey and Claire scream when they first see him.
  • Claire slips on the edge of the pool and falls in. She is scared by a shadowy and monstrous looking image and believes this to be a shark or some kind of sea creature (it turns out to be Aquamarine).
  • after being rescued by Raymond, Claire coughs up lots of water.
  • when Hailey and Claire fist meet Aquamarine, she grabs hold of Claire’s foot and refuses to let go when Claire tries to pull away.
  • during the storm there is a power failure and all the lights are out. Hailey and Claire scream when they think an intruder has walked into the room shining a flashlight in their faces. The intruder turns out to be Claire’s grandmother.
  • Aquamarine falls from a pushbike and sprawls face first on the road. She has a small cut on her leg with a small amount of blood.
  • when Hailey, Claire and Aquamarine climb a ladder to reach a water tower, the ladder pulls away from the tower and they appear scared.
  • Cecilia locks Aquamarine in a water tower and removes a ladder preventing her leaving the tower.

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 scenes mentioned 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.

It is unlikely that anything in this movie would scare or disturb children over the age of eight.

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.

It is unlikely that anything in this movie would scare or disturb children over the age of thirteen.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Cosmo Girl
  • Seventeen

 

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • “We’ve been way too available”
  • the term ‘boy bagging technology’ used to refer to attracting boys
  • reference to Cecilia’s breasts “She could poke an eye out.”
  • reference to Aquamarine’s rear “Check this out—isn’t it cute”
  • when Aquamarine asks Raymond “Do you love me?”, he replies “No but I think you’re hot.”
  • reference to Raymond, “All the girls are after him, even a few boys.”
  • Claire asks Aquamarine “Can you make boobs come out of hiding?”
  • Claire and Hailey compare their lack of endowment “boob size” to Cecilia’s ample bosom.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • naturalistic type nudity. Aquamarine in her mermaid form is naked with a human torso and fish tail. Her long hair covers her breasts while her back remains exposed. In one scene she is shown in the bath in her mermaid form with her tail hanging out of the bath and soap bubbles covering her torso.
  • Cecilia and her friends wear skimpy bikinis and low cut tops exposing large amounts of their ample cleavage. The way they act and move accentuates their sexuality.

 

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

There is some coarse language, including:

  • hell
  • bitch

There are also several instances of put-downs and name calling.

In a nutshell

Aquamarine is a romantic comedy targeting young girls aged eight to thirteen years with little appeal to younger males. The film focuses on friendships, relationships with the opposite sex, and on teenage girls’ fixation with body image. The film’s main positive message is that love can exist in more than one form and can be found when unlooked for, and that friendship can conquer the greatest of odds. However, the film does contain some negative messages in terms of spiteful behaviour between teenage girls and emotional manipulation.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include selflessness, courage and honesty. Parents may wish to discuss the unrealistic nature of teen girl magazines and how Hailey and Claire’s worshipping of these magazines is unrealistic and possible harmful, with their emphasis on physical appearance and manipulative methods of meeting emotional needs. Parents may also wish to discuss the incident in which the girls catch a bus to a shopping mall without their parents’ permission, and point out the possible real life dangers and threats associated with this rebellious behaviour.

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