Australian Council on Children and the Media

Arrietty (English dubbed version)

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Short takes

Parental guidance recommended under 6 due to some scary scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Arrietty (English dubbed version)
  • a review of Arrietty (English dubbed version) completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 January 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Parental guidance recommended due to some scary scenes
Children aged over 6 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: Arrietty (English dubbed version)
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: none
Length 94 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Based on Mary Norton’s famous children’s book, The Borrowers, Arrietty is the story of a tiny 14 year old girl of the same name(voice of Bridgit Mendler) who lives with her parents (voices of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler).  The tiny people live in a secret world in the basement of a huge mansion occupied by an old lady and her housekeeper (voice of Carol Burnett). The ‘borrowers’ borrow what they can from humans but only things that they won’t miss like sugar cubes. Occasionally Arrietty ventures out into the beautiful, magical garden but has to make sure she isn’t seen by humans because this will mean that the family will have to move.

Their peaceful life changes when 12 year old Shawn (voice of David Henrie) comes to live with his aunt. Shawn is a sickly boy and has heard of the ‘little people’ from his mother, so he’s not surprised to see Arrietty one day in the garden. Arrietty is afraid at first but gradually comes to trust Shawn and the two develop a strong friendship.  However, Arrietty is discovered by the housekeeper who is determined to trap the little people. This causes great havoc for them and they are forced to move 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.

Magical worlds; neglected children

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 violence in this movie including:

  • A crow flies at Shawn and then attacks Leo the cat.
  • Leo chases Arrietty and tries to grab her with his paws.
  • Arrietty has to fight a bug.
  • A crow flies at Arrietty and gets stuck in the flyscreen – it flaps and squawks and is very aggressive. The crow bites Shawn and the housekeeper bashes the crow with a slipper to release it.
  • The housekeeper picks up Arrietty’s mother by her shirt and pulls her arms and legs. She then places her in a jar and hides her on a shelf in the pantry.
  • Spilla (another borrower) nearly shoots Shawn with an arrow.

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 violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Leo the cat is very large compared to Arrietty and looks quite fierce.
  • The crow flying at Arrietty is also very large and scary.

Arrietty’s mother faints when she hears loud noises and shaking – she thinks it’s an earthquake.

  • The housekeeper is a mean person and quite scary looking.
  • The borrowers have to leave at night and have to pass some large animals – one has red eyes. Leo appears but only his green eyes are shown.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb younger children in this age group, including the following:

  • Arrietty has to go up a shaft on a rope elevator – she’s quite scared.
  • Shawn’s father has left and he never sees his mother because she works all the time. He is sent to live with his aunt but he is very lonely and sad.
  • Arrietty’s mother is terrified when she is discovered by the housekeeper. She screams when she is caught and put in a jar and bangs on the sides trying to get out.
  • Arrietty cries and is very upset to find her mother gone.

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 in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film

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

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

Arrietty is a beautifully crafted animated Japanese movie which has been dubbed in English. It is a charming story that is likely to appeal to all ages, although younger children might find some scenes scary.

The main messages from this movie are that friendship can overcome all odds and that sometimes the smallest people can be the most courageous.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • courage
  • friendship
  • loyalty
  • determination
  • kindness


This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as the little people having to move house because Arrietty didn’t listen to her parents.

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