Australian Council on Children and the Media

Bran Nue Dae

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Violence, Sex, Coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Bran Nue Dae
  • a review of Bran Nue Dae completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 14 January 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence, sexual references and coarse language
Children 8-13 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, sexual references and coarse language.
Children 14 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: Bran Nue Dae
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence, sexual references and coarse language
Length 85 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Bran Nue Dae is set in Broome in the late 1960s.  It tells the story of Willie (Rocky McKenzie), a young man on the cusp of adulthood, who spends his days happily fishing and hanging out with his friends and his girl, Rosie (Jessica Mauboy).  Willie’s mother Theresa (Ningali Lawford-Wolf) has other ideas about Willie’s future and is eager for Willie to pursue a religious path. She sends him back to spend another year of schooling on a religious mission in Perth.  Willie is a prefect at the mission and has been taken under the wing of Father Benedictus (Geoffrey Rush). However, a rebellious act to protect his friends puts him in the bad books and he is punished by Father Benedictus.  Willie runs away from the orphanage in a determined bid to make his way back home to Broome and his girl, Rosie. 

On Willie’s trip home he meets Uncle Tadpole (Ernie Dingo) who knows Willie’s mother.  Willie manages to convince Uncle Tadpole to help him get home to Broome, and Uncle Tadpole manages to convince a couple of unsuspecting hippies, Annie (Missy Higgins) and Slippery (Tom Budge) to take them ‘just’ up the road to Broome.  What follows is a hilarious 2500 km journey through the beautiful landscape of Western Australia with colourful characters played by Deborah Mailman and Magda Szubanski adding to the chaos.

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.

Alcohol dependence, racism, children as victims, homelessness

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:

  • Willie is hit with a paddle by Father Benedictus while on the mission
  • Father Benedictus hits Tommy on the head
  • A shop owner shoots at Willie and Uncle Tadpole with a rifle after they steal from her shop
  • A snake is killed by Uncle Tadpole who smacks it repeatedly against a tree
  • Willie is attacked by Roxanne’s partner after he finds Roxanne and Willie in a compromising position
  • Uncle Tadpole beats up Roxanne’s partner after he finds him hitting Willie
  • Willie is kicked in the stomach as he is placed in jail
  • Willie has a dream where he sees multiple Indigenous people captured and in chains
  • Willie and Lester get into a fist fight and both fall to the ground

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 eight, including the following:

  • Uncle Tadpole pretends to be hit by a car so that he can get a lift to Broome
  • Willie is sent away by his mother to attend a mission.  Willie is not keen to be there and all of the children are seen to be distressed by Father Benedictus and the other priests who are determined to maintain strict discipline.
  • At the religious mission one of the younger boys is made to hold two bibles with outstretched hands as punishment.  He is visibly upset and when he drops the books he has to start again.
  • Boys go spear fishing and are seen killing a fish
  • Willie runs away from the mission after he stands up to Father Benedictus. He approaches a group of homeless men who have been drinking, telling them that he wants to go home

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 some of 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.

Children in this age group may also be upset by scenes of children in distress in the mission.

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.

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

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Cherry Ripe
  • Coca Cola

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Lester makes flirtatious remarks to Rosie outside the pub.
  • There is some provocative dancing during the dance scene within the pub.

Nudity and sexual activity

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

  • Willie and Rosie kiss.
  • Willie has a sexy dream about Rosie.  She is seen in sexy clothing inviting him to come to her.
  • Annie and Slippery are seen in their underwear when they go swimming in a water hole.  The two are seen kissing in this scene.
  • Father Benedictus pulls down his pants and squats so that he can defecate beside the road.
  • Roxanne takes Willie to the condom tree which is a tree where the branches all have condoms hanging from them. She encourages him to have sex with her.  She is on top of him (clothed) when Roxanne’s partner finds them.
  • A shop owner rubs her breasts in front of Willie and propositions him.

Use of substances

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

  • Lester comes out of the pub and his behaviour implies that he has been drinking.
  • People are seen drinking in the pub as Rosie sings with Lester and the band.
  • Willie approaches a group of homeless men who are sleeping under a bridge.  The group are all openly drinking from wine bottles and are obviously drunk.
  • Willie meets Roxanne who is obviously intoxicated by alcohol- stumbling and being provocative
  • Uncle Tadpole, Annie and Slippery smoke marijuana and are seen obviously affected by the substance.  Annie throws the marijuana out of the window of their combi van after they see the police.
  • Roxanne is seen drinking out of a beer bottle.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • frangers
  • bump my hole
  • shit
  • rooting
  • bloody
  • mongrel

In a nutshell

Bran Nue Dae is a joyful musical comedy about a young man’s journey home and his coming-of-age.

The main message from this movie is that home is where the heart is.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include: friendship, determination and looking out for one another.

 This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Indigenous Australians and their history
  • excessive alcohol use

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