Australian Council on Children and the Media

Ballerina

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Short takes

Not recommended under 5; parental guidance recommended for ages 5-7 due to scary scenes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Ballerina
  • a review of Ballerina completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 January 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to scary scenes
Children 5 to 10 Parental guidance due to scary scenes
Children aged 10 and over 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: Ballerina
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 89 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Ballerina tells the story of a feisty 11-year-old orphan from Brittany called Félicie (voice of Elle Fanning). Félicie, who dreams of becoming a dancer, escapes from the orphanage with the help of her best friend Victor (voice of Dane DeHaan) who wants to be a great inventor. Together the friends set off for Paris to chase their dreams.

In Paris, Félicie befriends Odette (Voice of Carly-Rae Jepsen) who is the cleaner and caretaker of the grand Opera-Ballet and, through a twist of fate, manages to bluff her way into taking ballet classes. The girls in the class are auditioning for a part in the Nutcracker and each day one girl is eliminated from the group. Félicie must pour all her strength and passion for dance into making sure that she wins the part. She comes up against many challenges and has a number of set-backs to overcome.

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.

Following your dreams and working hard towards a goal; determination and bravery in the face of hardship; being an orphan; competition

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 animated violence in this movie including:

  • Slapstick violence for comedic effect – Victor is always bumping his head, falling off things or being struck in the head.
  • Rudy and Victor fight and Rudy punches Victor in the stomach.
  • The security guard at the Opera-Ballet threatens to hit Félicie with his fist while holding her roughly by the arm.
  • Regine Le Haut, Camille’s mother, chases Félicie with a big mallet and threatens to kill her by pushing her off a high statue.

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:

  • When escaping from the orphanage, Félicie and Victor are chased at great speed by the caretaker. He has a very scary and monster-like face and is very angry and threatening.
  • Many of the adults that Félicie and Victor meet have very mean or sad faces and are not very nice to them.
  • Camille’s mother, Regine Le Haut, is a very cruel adult character who has a very scary face. She is mean and threatening to Felice.
  • Camille is very mean to Félicie, calls her names and throws her most precious possession out of a window and smashes it.
  • There are several scenes of balancing and falling from the top of high buildings. Very precarious.

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 find the above scenes disturbing and parental guidance is recommended.

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

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

There are some romantic references in this movie, including:

  • The young ballerinas all have a crush on the only male ballet student, a Russian Prince called Rudolf. They all giggle and appear love-struck when he is around.
  • There is a romantic love triangle between Félicie, Victor and Rudolf and Victor and Rudolf have a fight over Félicie.
  • There is budding romance between the caretaker and the ballet teacher.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • Rudolf flirts with Félicie, flatters her and takes her on a date. She falls for him and talks about how he looks at her and how ‘deep’ he is.
  • Victor tries to kiss Félicie.

Use of substances

Félicie and Victor spend some time in what appears to be a bar or a pub. They are not seen drinking but just dancing to the music.

Coarse language

There is some mild insults and toilet humour in this movie, including:

  • Victor farts and is seen lighting his fart for comedic effect.
  • Camille calls Félicie a ‘little rat’ and tells her many times that she is ‘nothing’.
  • The words ‘idiot’ and ‘stupid’ are used as insults.

In a nutshell

Ballerina is an entertaining animated dance movie about following your dreams and working hard. The plot is predictable but enjoyable and will appeal to pre-teens, particularly those who are interested in ballet and dancing. There are some scary scenes and characters which might disturb very young viewers so the film is not recommended for children under five with parental guidance recommended for five to seven year-olds.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Sacrifice, practice and hard work are necessary to improve your skills and compete in elite sport/dance.
  • You should treat your friends and peers with respect.

Parents also may wish to discuss:

  • The realities and psychological consequences of elite competition.
  • How to respond to flirtation and flattery.

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