Australian Council on Children and the Media

BFG, The

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Not recommended under 7; parental guidance 7-8 due to violence and scary scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for BFG, The
  • a review of BFG, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 30 June 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children 7-8 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children 8 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: BFG, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Some scenes may scare young children
Length 118 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The BFG is based on the book by Roald Dahl. Sophie is an orphan living in London. One night the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) kidnaps her and takes her to giant country. However, Sophie soon learns that the BFG is not to be feared and the two form an unlikely friendship. The BFG and Sophie teach each other about their own worlds. But soon Sophie’s presence in giant country attracts the attention of the nine other not so friendly giants. Sophie and the BFG must be brave and clever in order to defeat the bad giants. 

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.

Kidnapping; death of a parent; bullying; children as victims

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:

  • There are lots of references to giants eating children. At the beginning Sophie thinks that the BFG is going to eat her, but he is later revealed to be a friendly giant. However, the other nine giants are children eaters and make frequent references to wanting to eat children/Sophie.  
  • The bad giants tease the BFG, throw him about and force him to crash into other giants.
  • To protect Sophie, the BFG attacks the other giants with a fire poker.
  • Sophie and the BFG ask the British Army to help them fight the other giants. The British soldiers are shown carrying guns and swords but these are not used. Instead, the army captures the bad giants with nets and takes them to a remote island so they can’t hurt anyone.

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:

  • The film opens with some scary scenes. Sophie is awake in the middle of the night and is frightened by the scary noises and creepy shadows. The BFG (who at the beginning of the film looks like a scary giant) kidnaps Sophie and takes her to giant country.
  • Death is referenced in the film. Sophie is an orphan and tells BFG that both her parents are dead. There is also reference made to a boy that used to live with BFG but who was eaten by the other giants.
  • The other nine giants are quite scary and there are frightening scenes when they are trying to capture and eat Sophie.
  • In the film, both the queen and Sophie are shown to have nightmares about the evil giants. Sophie’s nightmare may be scary for young children as it shows her being chased by giants and almost being eaten.
  • Sophie jumps off a balcony to make the BFG reveal himself and catch her.

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 or scared 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.

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 in the movie, but it is part of the Disney franchise and is likely to have associated merchandise.

Sexual references

Nothing of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • At the beginning of the film there are some drunk men leaving a pub and making lots of noise stumbling about in the street. Sophie tells them to be quiet and go home or she will call the police.
  • The giants drink a fizzy green substance called Frobscottle. It is non-alcoholic but it does make both giants and humans have explosive farts.

Coarse language

There are many fart jokes in the film

In a nutshell

The BFG is a heart-warming film full of wonderful fantasy characters. This film version beautifully reimagines Roald Dahl’s classic book. The film is most suitable for children 8 years and older due to some scary and violent scenes. It is not recommended for under 7s and parental guidance is recommended for 7-8 year olds. 

The main messages from this movie are to not judge other people based on their appearance or their stereotypes, and the importance of friendship and feeling that you belong.

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

  • bravery
  • problem solving
  • empathy and kindness

Parents may also wish to discuss with their children the effects of bullying and how the movie addresses the theme of bullying.

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